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Sean D. Reyes
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Human Traffickers Receive Maximum Penalty

After pleading guilty to two counts each of human trafficking, Lynnsie Reddish and Terrance Jones were sentenced on Monday, January 22nd, to an indeterminate prison sentence of 1-15 years on each count, the maximum sentence for their offenses, for charges investigated and prosecuted by the Office of the Utah Attorney General (OAG).

Last July, the OAG’s SECURE Strike Force arrested and charged Reddish and Jones with sixteen felony offenses, including Aggravated Kidnapping and multiple counts of Human Trafficking, based on evidence of a long-term sex trafficking operation they ran out of a residence in Ogden City.

At a preliminary hearing last July, seven women testified about their experience working for the operation. They testified that Reddish and Jones exploited their drug addictions, poverty, lack of housing, and other vulnerabilities to recruit them to work in commercial sex. According to the women, Jones was the drug supplier and the “muscle” for the operation. He handled payment transactions and nearly all the money made went to him and Reddish.

Two of the women testified to the violence Reddish and Jones used against them when they tried to leave. One woman shared that Reddish and Jones held her in a room, cut off her hair, and beat her with a belt. The other, after refusing to have sex with a “client”, left the house, was chased down, and beat in the street. One of the women Reddish recruited is autistic and meets the definition of a vulnerable adult. According to the victims, Reddish knew about her disability and forced her to work anyway, often beating her up or locking her into a closest when she refused. This victim’s story is part of the basis for an upcoming bill this legislative session to increase penalties for human trafficking of vulnerable adults.

All Human Trafficking victims are referred to Refugee and Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah, a partner agency with the Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force (UTIP), for aftercare services.

Human trafficking tips should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

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NOTES:

  1. The Utah Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force is tasked by the Utah legislature with investigating and prosecuting large-scale criminal operations including human trafficking. Read more about the SECURE Strike Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/uncategorized/secure-task-force.
  2. For more information about the Utah Trafficking In Persons Task Force, go here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/human-trafficking.
  3. To learn more about the work of the Refugee and Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah, check out their website here: https://aau-slc.org/.
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