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Man Sentenced to Consecutive Terms of Life in Prison for Sex Trafficking a Child

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2019

 

MAN SENTENCED TO CONSECUTIVE TERMS OF UP TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SEX TRAFFICKING A CHILD

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Joseph Moore was sentenced to two terms of five years up to life in prison for sex trafficking a 16-year-old child and exploiting his own adult daughter for prostitution. Moore was convicted of Human Trafficking, Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution Involving a Child, and Exploitation of Prostitution, after a three-day jury trial in January 2019.

The key witness in the case was the child victim. She testified that she was befriended by Moore’s adult daughter, who then introduced her to Moore himself. Moore proposed that the two girls could make money through commercial sex work. He helped them set up advertising online, transported them along the Wasatch Front for commercial sex appointments, and collected up to half of the profit made from the commercial sex scheme. The child victim testified that Moore also propositioned her for sex in exchange for money on several occasions, although she refused.

Moore’s conduct amounted to human trafficking because he recruited, solicited, and transported a child for commercial sex. Under state and federal law, the commercial sexual exploitation of children is human trafficking, regardless of whether force was used. Prosecutors argued to the jury that, as an adult, Moore had a responsibility to protect children. Instead, he treated this child victim and his own adult daughter like commodities to be bought and sold.

The jury convicted Moore after a few hours of deliberation. At his sentencing, Judge Valencia with the Second District Court sentenced him to two terms of five years up to life in prison, and another term of zero to five years in prison, all to run consecutively. This is the maximum possible sentence for these charges. Judge Valencia emphasized that the victim impact statement written by the child victim for sentencing was among the most powerful she had ever read.

“To many, it’s shocking that human trafficking can occur here in Utah. But like everywhere in America, it’s a tragic reality in our communities,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “We continue to prioritize these cases and aggressively pursue traffickers who victimize men, women and children of all backgrounds. Survivors of trafficking may suffer their entire lives from the pain and torment they have endured in cases like these.”

“Human trafficking cases are enormously complicated. A victory like this is always the product of a dedicated team attacking the case from several angles,” said Assistant Attorney General Daniel Strong. Attorney General Reyes thanked the following partners, individuals, etc. for their effective work in this case:

  • The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s SECURE Strike Force, which is tasked with investigating human trafficking throughout the state. In particular, Agents Reed Mackley and Scott Eggerman, who served as lead investigators and uncovered important evidence to corroborate the victim’s testimony;
  • The Ogden City Police Department, who initially referred the case and assisted with preparation for trial;
  • Victim service providers with the Refugee and Immigrant Center, Asian Association of Utah (RIC-AAU). They provided comprehensive services to the child victim in this case, untethered to her cooperation in the prosecution.
  • The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s own victim services coordinator, Ruthie Pedregon, who ensured that the victims’ rights were represented at every stage of the proceeding;
  • Assistant Attorneys General Daniel Strong and Tye Christensen, who filed the case, argued important evidentiary motions, presented the trial, and argued at sentencing. Paralegal Michelle Rasmussen kept the case file for the prosecution and assisted in putting together the trial.

Unfortunately, the interfamilial dynamic of this trafficking case is very common. The Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC) estimates that almost half of all child trafficking cases begin with some family member involvement. If you encounter or suspect any form of human trafficking, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888.

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NOTES:

  1. More information on the SECURE Strike Force: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/secure-task-force/
  2. More information on the UTIP Task Force: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking/
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