Man gets 2-year sen­tence in mul­ti­state sex traf­fick­ing case

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE -

OXFORD, Miss. — A Ten­nessee man con­victed in a mul­ti­state sex-traf­fick­ing case has been sen­tenced to two years in fed­eral prison.

The FBI and a fed­eral prose­cu­tor said in a news re­lease Fri­day that Mario D. Collins, 37, of Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, was sen­tenced Thurs­day in Mis­sis­sippi by U.S. Dis­trict Judge Michael P. Mills. Collins was con­victed in De­cem­ber of trans­port­ing for pros­ti­tu­tion.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI and po­lice in Oxford, Mis­sis­sippi, showed Collins and Paulette Clayton, 26, of Mem­phis, force­fully took an 18-year-old woman from At­lanta to Oxford to en­gage in pros­ti­tu­tion, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Collins and Clayton both threat­ened the woman af­ter she ob­jected to per­form­ing sex for money and asked to be taken home, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said in court records. Ev­i­dence pre­sented at trial showed po­lice re­ceived a 911 call April 27, 2017, in­di­cat­ing the woman was be­ing held against her will.

Clayton was also con­victed in De­cem­ber of trans­port­ing for pros­ti­tu­tion, and she was sen­tenced May 31 to three years’ pro­ba­tion.

“Hu­man traf­fick­ing in any form is rep­re­hen­si­ble, and those who pro­mote traf­fick­ing hu­man be­ings for sex or la­bor are not wel­come in our com­mu­ni­ties,” Christo­pher Freeze, the spe­cial agent in charge of the FBI in Mis­sis­sippi, said in the news re­lease Fri­day.

Wil­liam C. La­mar, U.S. at­tor­ney for north­ern Mis­sis­sippi, said fed­eral and lo­cal of­fi­cials will con­tinue work­ing to­gether to stop traf­fick­ing.

“Women, many of whom are very young, are of­ten co­erced into pros­ti­tu­tion by preda­tors, taken ad­van­tage of, and are fre­quently vic­tims of vi­o­lence,” La­mar said.

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