Men hit with federal child sex trafficking charges after paying for sex with child 13-year-old female

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Dallas, TX – Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, announced earlier this month the arrests of two men who allegedly purchased sex from a 13-year-old child who had been a victim of child sex trafficking.

The two were indicted for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking of children following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division with assistance from the Fort Worth Police Department.

 

A federal grand jury indicted Kention Obryan Johnson, 35, and Sergio Trinidad Carvajal, 30, on Sept. 2 for an incident that occurred in a West Irving, Texas, hotel room on Nov. 5, 2019, where a minor was found and recovered by agents. The court documents were unsealed Sept. 16.

At a press conference, U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said:

“Traffickers sell children for sex because their clients will pay for it. It’s that simple. By attacking both the supply and the demand, we think we will be able to truly make a difference in fighting this dehumanizing, horrific crime.”

Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI’s Dallas Field Office, echoed Nealy Cox’s concerns, saying:

“The sex trafficking of minors is a despicable crime that HSI Dallas and our dedicated partners will continue to prioritize and relentlessly investigate. Whether you’re involved in the actual trafficking or perpetuate it as a consumer, HSI will use every resource available to ensure you face justice.

Spradlin added:

“HSI will continue to pursue individuals involved in this type of modern-day slavery, and work vigorously to rescue the young, helpless victims whose dignity and well-being are blatantly disregarded.”

A criminal complaint filed late last year alleged that Johnson and Carvajal’s co-conspirator, Curtis Vance Mathis, 34, advertised the minor on CityXGuide.com.  This is an illegal website that has been shut down by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.  

Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Secret Service on June 19, 2020, seized the prostitution-promoting website from its owner, Wilhan Martono, 46, of Fremont, California.

Martono was indicted June 2 on one count of promotion of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking, one count of interstate racketeering conspiracy (facilitating prostitution), nine counts of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering (facilitating prostitution) and 17 counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Martono allegedly netted more than $21 million off illicit websites promoting prostitution and commercial sex trafficking. The day after the FBI shut down Backpage.com, then the internet’s leading source of prostitution and sex trafficking advertisements, Martono registered the domain names for several sites to pick up where Backpage left off.

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Despite Terms of Use purportedly forbidding the advertisement of illegal sexual services, CityXGuide and its affiliated websites (Backpage.co, CAPleasures.com, and BodyRubShop.com, among others) allowed brothels, pimps, and prostitutes to post hundreds of thousands of advertisements for sexual services, which users could then filter by geography and preference. Of course, this is all allegedly.

Regarding the case of the 13-year-old, agents found her dressed only in an oversized hoodie in a West Irving hotel room that was rented in Mathis’ name on Nov. 5, 2019.

The investigation’s unsealed search warrant affidavits showed hotel surveillance footage captured three men, identified as Mathis, Johnson and Carvajal, as they entered and exited the hotel room.

When the agents searched the phone of the 13-year-old, whom they dubbed Jane Doe, they were able to uncover text chats with Johnson and Carvajal discussing the price for a “quick visit,” or a “qv.” This is commercial sex talk for a brief sexual encounter. The forensic investigation confirmed DNA recovered from discarded condoms found in the hotel room belonged to both Johnson and Carvajal.

This prosecution is part of the Justice Department’s sex trafficking demand reduction initiative. The program is focused on both punishing and deterring those who drive the market for sex from children and other vulnerable people.

The intent guiding the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017 is that anyone who knowingly purchases sex from someone who is a trafficked victim, or a child, is just as guilty as the person who supplied the victim for sex.

An indictment is only an allegation. It is a claim that there is criminal conduct and evidence must be gathered. Defendants (or the accused) are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law. The court of public opinion is a different matter. If convicted, Johnson, Carvajal and Mathis could each face up to life in federal prison.

Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation with assistance from the Fort Worth Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Myria Boehm and Becky Ricketts are prosecuting the case.

Boehm is a criminal defense attorney licensed for 11 years. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Becky Ricketts, a native of Sugar Land, Texas, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and was selected as a Truman Scholar. She attended Yale Law School and graduated in 2010.

WFAA Channel 8 carried the story of the indictments, garnering massive reaction on social media. The video report amassed 1.6 thousand reactions and 1.5 thousand comments, with many demanding that politics be kept out of the subject. Posters believed that the safety of the children overrides political squabbles.

Some of the comments:

“This is modern day slavery, called human trafficking, no matter what color you are it happening to our children . . . protect the children.”

“These people need death penalty. That may deter trafficking.”

This is disgusting – thank you to all working to save these children.”

I just cant believe the media only had 1 question . . . that is unbelievable . . . but hey follow the money right.”

Sadly, the people in Washington haven’t shown a huge amount of concern over the situation of child trafficking. President Trump did take a stand Jan. 31, 2020 with his Executive Order on Combating Human Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States. Barrack Obama did do a few things, to be fair and balanced, but they weren’t nearly as aggressive as Trump’s efforts.

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