Justice Department Recognizes Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate from Washington with Special Courage Award
A 42-year-old man, who trolled neighborhoods in south King County looking for teen-age girls to recruit into prostitution, was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of four criminal counts related to sex trafficking, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. NATHAN BONDS was convicted of two counts of sex trafficking of a juvenile and two counts of transportation of a juvenile to engage in prostitution. The jury deliberated for five hours following a four day trial. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour scheduled sentencing for February 10, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.
According to records in the case and testimony at trial, in April 2013, BONDS was parked outside a Kent convenience store when he spotted and befriended a 15-year-old girl who had run away from home. BONDS let the girl borrow his cell phone, and then let her sit in his car, out of the rain. BONDS manipulated the girl into accompanying him to a hotel room where he raped her. Over the next few days, BONDS coerced the girl into working for him as a prostitute, convincing her she had no other options. BONDS advertised the girl on Backpage.com and made her give him all of the money she earned from prostitution acts. He also recruited the girl’s 17-year-old friend to work for him as a prostitute. On April 19, 2013, BONDS transported the 15-year-old girl and her 17-year-old friend, as well as a drug-addicted, homeless adult woman that he had also manipulated into working for him as a prostitute, to Portland to engage in prostitution. BONDS forced the two teens to take sexually explicit photographs, and then used some of those photographs to advertise them on Backpage.com.
Ultimately, both teens returned to their families and law enforcement identified BONDS as a sex trafficker. He was arrested June 5, 2013, and law enforcement recovered the computer and cell phone he used to conduct the prostitution business, both of which contained evidence establishing BONDS’s longtime involvement in prostitution.
Sex trafficking of juveniles is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years, and up to life imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the North-Central Sound Child Exploitation Task Force which includes officers and agents from the Kent Police Department and FBI. The King County Prosecutors Office contributed substantial assistance to the prosecution. The case was prosecuted federally by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Crisham and Ye-Ting Woo.