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SECURE Strike Force Files Sex Trafficking Charges Against Three Utahns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2020

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S SECURE STRIKE FORCE FILES SEX TRAFFICKING CHARGES AGAINST THREE UTAHNS
Two Child Victims Exploited for Commercial Sex


SALT LAKE CITY – Three Utah residents, Andre Gomez, David Mackey, and Chandra Jones have been arrested and charged by the Utah Attorney General’s SECURE (Statewide Enforcement of Crimes by Undocumented Residents) Strike Force for sex trafficking two 17-year-old girls in Ogden. All defendants face charges of Sex Trafficking of a Child and Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution Involving a Child, based on evidence that they recruited, solicited and profited from sexually exploiting the two child victims for commercial sex. Gomez and Mackey were also charged with multiple counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor for directing the children to take sexually explicit photos of themselves for use in commercial sex advertisements. Mackey also faces a charge of Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16 or 17-year-old, based on evidence that he had sexual intercourse with one of the child victims. 
 
Agents with the Attorney General’s SECURE Strike Force were contacted by Juvenile Justice Services in September 2019 in regards to a report that a 17-year-old female had disclosed she and another 17-year-old female (Child Victim 1, Child Victim 2) were the victims of human trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Child Victim 1 disclosed that she met and began talking with a man by the name of Anthony (later identified as David Anthony Mackey). Mackey asked Child Victim 1 if she wanted to make some money and Mackey instructed Child Victim 1 to reach out to his friend “Andre” through Facebook. Mackey provided Child Victim 1 the Facebook account of “Andre” (later identified as Andre Gomez). Gomez instructed both child victims to take nude and partially nude photos of themselves and send them to Gomez for posting on adult websites as online ads for commercial sex. Both child victims took photos as instructed by Gomez. Mackey also took a topless photo of Child Victim 1 for use in online ads for commercial sex.
 
Both child victims traveled to a hotel in Ogden, Utah at the instruction of Mackey and Gomez. They were met by Mackey and his girlfriend Chandra Jones. Jones explained to both child victims what they were expected to do and how to act; including how to post ads, how to accept money from clients, how to talk to clients, and how to dispose of condoms. The child victims were provided alcohol by Mackey and Jones. Both child victims engaged in commercial sexual intercourse with multiple clients at the hotel in Ogden at the instruction of Mackey and Jones. Mackey kept the money received from commercial sex. Mackey and Jones took Child Victim 1 to Salt Lake City, Utah and rented another hotel for the purposes of engaging in commercial sex. They were unable to do so after Jones and Mackey got into a fight on the premises of that hotel. Mackey and Jones were both aware of the ages of the child victims. Both hotel stays were corroborated by receipts obtained pursuant to a subpoena.
 
Mackey and Gomez are both convicted felons who have spent time in prison for violent offenses. Gomez was previously convicted of murder.
 
Both child victims have been referred to the Refugee Immigrant Center-Asian Association of Utah, which provides comprehensive services to aid human trafficking victims. The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s own victim coordinator is also in regular contact with both victims to ensure their rights are represented as the case moves forward.

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Attorney General Reyes on Human Trafficking Panel: Survivors First, Awareness Essential

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2020

ATTORNEY GENERAL REYES ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING PANEL: SURVIVORS FIRST, AWARENESS ESSENTIAL

WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes helped outline the extent of the human trafficking problem on a panel that included Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and Attorneys General Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas and Ashley Moody of Florida.
 
“There are more victims of human trafficking throughout the world than the public realizes,” said Attorney General Reyes. “In fact, there are more victims entrapped in slavery than ever before. We will keep working tirelessly to wake up America to the pervasiveness of the threat. Many people either don’t know or don’t want to know what’s happening to victims in their community because it is so shocking. We have to change that.
 
“In Utah, we have made great strides in six years. We went from an “F” grade in 2013 to an “A” grade in 2019 from Shared Hope International because of incredible public support, willing state leaders, aggressive law enforcement and a focus on empowering and healing victims and survivors. Yet, we still have a long way to go.”
 
DHS Acting Secretary Wolf pledged his support.
 
“We need to take a victim-first approach and assess the real threat to our communities,” Wolf said. “The Federal Government can’t do it alone. For example, we need to work with tech companies so they can identify victims and takedown harmful content. We need to go where the threats take us and ask the people in our nation for assistance. But we need to ensure our resources are allocated in the correct way.”
 
“If you see something, say something,” he added.
 
The panel emphasized that it is vitally important for the general public to keep an eye out for unusual behavior that could signal a person may be in a situation against their will.
 
A public-private partnership is necessary in order to accomplish the goal of freeing victims of human trafficking, the panel agreed.

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Featured Speaker AG Reyes Discusses Human Trafficking at U.S. Department of Transportation Summit

January 28, 2020

Yesterday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and the U.S. Department of Transporation at a summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss human trafficking and to pledge to provide awareness and leadership to combat this worldwide epidemic.

“The biggest problem when it comes to human trafficking remains this: Most people still have no clue that it even exists. But with events like these, we united, need to set the record straight,” said Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “While the history books in our schools teach that slavery has ended, it most certainly has not. And we need now, more than ever, professionals from the transportation industry, in government, in the private sector, to stand up with us and fight this fight.”

Register for the 2020 Human Trafficking Symposium

January 15, 2020

The Utah Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force, along with the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Social Justice Student Initiative (SJSI), invite you to attend the annual Human Trafficking Symposium on January 24, 2020.

The Symposium will feature Julie Dahlstrom, JD, Director of Boston University Law’s Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program as a keynote speaker, a panel, and breakout sessions about human trafficking in Utah including perspectives from attorneys, case managers, law enforcement, and medical providers based around this year’s theme of a victim-centered approach.

The event is free or $12 for a lunch option. University students, faculty, and staff are free with proof of university ID.

Registration is required: http://bit.ly/SJQHTS2020

Click here to download the 2020 Human Trafficking Symposium Agenda

4.5 hours of Utah CLE (pending).

Paid parking is available at Rice-Eccles Stadium by purchasing a day pass. We encourage you to use public transportation to our events. Take TRAX University line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block north. For other public transit options use UTA’s Trip Planner. The law school is on the Red Route for the University’s free campus shuttles (College of Law stop).

For questions about the event contact Haylee (801) 587-7890.

AG Reyes Joins Department of Justice’s Summit on Combating Human Trafficking

January 14, 2020

WASHINGTON D.C. — Utah actively works with other states and the Department of Justice to fight the onslaught of human trafficking-related issues that occur every day. Today, the Department of Justice hosted a Summit on Combating Human Trafficking where Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes addressed the cooperation that is necessary in order to fight violations of human rights that occur both behind closed doors and in public.

States like Utah are leading the charge to arrest the perpetrators of heinous crimes like slavery, sexual exploitation, child labor, forced labor, debt bondage and forced marriage. At the conference, Attorney General Reyes addressed his work with the legislature to change state laws in order to deal with these crimes. He outlined ways that the Attorney General’s Office partners with various state service organizations to help people get out of these desperate situations.

This work is extremely difficult and continuous. With financial assistance in the form of grant funding provided by the Department of Justice, the Utah Attorney General’s office is able to devote significant resources to investigating and prosecuting these crimes.

In 2019, there were several trafficking arrests and prosecutions, most notably: Joseph Moore, who 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

Also last year, James Savage Brown was convicted and sentenced to the maximum sentence on each of eight counts of human trafficking-related charges included Aggravated Human Trafficking, Aggravated Kidnapping, Rape, Forcible Sodomy, Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution and Tampering with a witness.

The value of the partnerships with other states and the Department of Justice cannot be overstated. The crimes are heinous, and the perpetrators are elusive. We fully pledge to continue to investigate these cases and prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.

Get Involved for Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January 11, 2020

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and today, January 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. As of this moment, there are dozens of people in Utah and thousands across the nation who are suffering the physical and mental anguish of being imprisoned in plain sight.

The human trafficking industry generates approximately $150 billion each year and has an estimated 40.3 million victims world-wide, even in the State of Utah.

Human trafficking is a pervasive and horrific violation of human rights that strips victims of innocence, hope, and dignity. Men, women, and children of any sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, and from all backgrounds and communities – urban or rural – are trafficked each year.

Traffickers use a number of ways to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sex, including force, fraud, or coercion. They may use violence, manipulation, or false promises of a romantic relationship or a well-paying job. Traffickers use “invisible ropes” that involve complex manipulative tactics to control their victims, despite the popular portrayal in books and movies that traffickers use handcuffs, chains, cages, and locked rooms. A victim’s trauma may be so great that they may not identify as a victim and will not ask for help. Language barriers, fear of traffickers, and fear of law enforcement may prevent a victim from speaking out.

Human trafficking is a fast-growing, transnational epidemic. The Utah Attorney General’s Office through its Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force and SECURE Strike Force, along with many partner agencies, aggressively fight against trafficking in all its forms. In 2018, the Utah Attorney General’s Office conducted 49 human trafficking investigations, prosecuted 8 cases, and served 44 victims. Utah has made great strides to combat trafficking and was recently ranked among the top in the nation for its dedication to the fight against minor sex trafficking. Despite this, there is still much work to be done.

The AG’s Office invites Utahns this January to get involved. Learn the signs of human trafficking and how to report it here. Register for the free Annual UTIP Human Trafficking Symposium by the AG’s Office at the University of Utah on January 24, to learn about human trafficking from the perspective of attorneys, case managers, law enforcement, and medical providers. Utahns can also report tips regarding human trafficking to the Utah Attorney General’s Office:

  • Utah Human Trafficking Tipline: 801-200-3443
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Tipline: 801-281-1211

The AG’s Office would like to thank our partners in the fight against human trafficking:

  • Adult Probation and Parole/Department of Corrections
  • Backyard Broadcast
  • Bountiful Police Department
  • Children’s Justice Center
  • Davis County Sheriff’s Office
  • Division of Child and Family Services
  • The Department of Justice
  • Department of Public Safety/Utah Statewide Information and Analysis Center
  • doTerra
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations-Salt Lake City
  • Fight the New Drug
  • Homeland Security Investigations- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Juvenile Justice Services
  • Malouf Foundation
  • Ogden Police Department
  • Operation Underground Railroad
  • Orem Police Department
  • Park City Police Department
  • Refugee & Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah
  • Restoring Ancestral Winds
  • Safe Harbor
  • Salt Lake City Police Department
  • SHEROES United
  • South Valley Services
  • The Road Home
  • Unified Police Department
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service
  • Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic
  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition
  • Utah Legal Services
  • Utah Office for Victims of Crime
  • Various professionals from the medical community
  • West Jordan Police Department
  • West Valley Police Department
  • West Wendover Police Department
  • YCC Family Crisis Center
  • 3 Strands Global Foundation
  • 4th Street Clinic

Utah Man Convicted to Consecutive Terms of Up to Life in Prison for Sex Trafficking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2019

AGGRAVATED SEX TRAFFICKING CASE: CONSECUTIVE TERMS OF UP TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR UTAH MAN
 

SALT LAKE CITY – This week, James Savage Brown was sentenced to the maximum sentence on each of eight counts of human trafficking-related charges in the Utah Third District Court. Brown was convicted in August 2019 on each of the charges, which included Aggravated Human Trafficking, Aggravated Kidnapping, Rape, Forcible Sodomy, Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution and Tampering with a witness.
 
“This is a case where the penalty has matched the severity of the atrocious crimes committed by James Savage Brown,” Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said. “Human Trafficking is a brutal violation of human rights and dignity and I pledge every resource in my office to continue to fight it.”
 
Attorney General Reyes continued, “I’m extremely proud of our team—particularly Assistant Utah Attorney General Tye Christensen, former Assistant Utah Attorney General Russell Smith, along with our victim advocate group—for their hard work and dedication in this case and those other cases still under investigation.” 
 
Background
Utah Attorney General SECURE Strike Force agents learned of Brown’s activity last year from one of the victims, S.S., after she was released from the Salt Lake County Detention Center. While there, S.S. encountered another woman, J.M., who had suffered similarly at the hands of Brown. Investigators later learned that J.M. had previously reported her encounter with Brown to the Salt Lake City Police Department. Both victims told stories of manipulation and coercion, including exploiting drug dependency, threatened or actual physical abuse, fear for their lives, and repeated attempts and/or success in forced commercial sex by Brown. Shortly after Brown was arrested, investigators overheard Brown, via telephone, direct an associate to tamper with a victim that Brown believed to be working with law enforcement.
 
Trial
At trial, the jury heard each victim-witness testify about how Brown victimized them and preyed upon their vulnerabilities. The victim-witnesses showed immense strength and authenticity in sharing such traumatic and personal experiences with the jury. During closing statements at trial, the jury was encouraged to consider the credibility of the victim-witnesses. After a few hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Brown on all counts.
 
Sentencing
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Parker with the Third District Court sentenced Brown to four terms of five years up to life in prison, one term of fifteen years up to life in prison, two terms of one year to fifteen years in prison, and a term of zero to five years in prison. The sentence of count one, five years to life in prison, will run consecutive to the remaining counts, the most serious being fifteen years to life in prison. This is the maximum possible sentence for these charges. Judge Parker explained that this sentence balanced the defendant’s interest in an appropriate length of imprisonment for rehabilitation with each victims’ interest in justice for what they experienced.

Acknowledgments
Human trafficking cases are very complex and require the strength and talents of many professionals in order to properly serve victims, as well as investigate and prosecute the criminal conduct. Attorney General Reyes wishes to thank the following organizations and individuals for their dedicated work in this case:

  • The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s SECURE Strike Force, which is tasked with investigating human trafficking throughout the state. The case agent and lead investigator uncovered important evidence to corroborate the victims’ testimony, assisted the victims throughout their recovery and trial preparation, and testified at trial;
  • The Salt Lake City Police Department, whose collaboration was instrumental in identifying victims, ensuring they received necessary medical care, and corroborating victims’ reports.
  • Victim service providers with the Refugee and Immigrant Center, Asian Association of Utah (RIC-AAU). They coordinated and provided comprehensive services to the victims in this case, untethered to the victims’ cooperation in the prosecution;
  • Victim service providers with Journey of Hope who initially referred the case and assisted victims throughout the case and in preparation for trial;
  • The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s victim services coordinator, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the victims’ needs were met, and their rights were represented at every stage of the proceeding;
  • Utah Attorney General’s Office Paralegal Michelle Rasmussen, who kept the case file for the prosecution, assisted in witness trial preparation, and organized and managed the evidence, exhibits, and witnesses for trial; and
  • Assistant Utah Attorney General Tye Christensen and former Assistant Utah Attorney General Russell Smith, who filed the case, argued important evidentiary motions, presented the trial, and argued at sentencing.

 
If you encounter or suspect any form of human trafficking, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888, or text “HELP” to BeFree, 233-733.
 

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Utah Gets an ‘A’ for Fighting Child Sex Trafficking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2019
 

UTAH GETS AN ‘A’ FOR FIGHTING CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
Shared Hope International Scores Enforcement Standards of Protection for Minors
 

SALT LAKE CITY – The State of Utah is now ranked among the top in the nation for its dedication to the fight against minor sex trafficking, according to Shared Hope International. See Utah’s report card here.  

In its yearly rankings, Utah received an ‘A’ for its dedication and strength of the state’s laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In 2011, Utah received an ‘F’. The amount of progress is due to many factors and dedicated partners, including the tireless efforts of Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, the Attorney General SECURE Strike Force, the ICAC Task Force, the UTIP Task Force, legislation passed by the Utah Legislature and the dedication and commitment of the Governor’s office.

“Combatting human trafficking is an absolute priority for our office,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “There are incredible, dedicated people who work hard every day as part of this effort, and that work is far from over. We will continue to do everything we can to fight this heinous activity.” 

Every year, Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating minor sex trafficking, releases report cards for each state in the nation with a grade based on the strength of their laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Grades are based on an annual review of state laws as analyzed under the Protected Innocence Challenge Legislative Framework.

States are graded on the analysis and review of six areas:

  • Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking 
  • Criminal Provisions for Demand (those who buy)
  • Criminal Provisions for Traffickers (those who sell)
  • Criminal Provisions for Facilitators (those who help)
  • Protective Provisions for Child Victims 
  • Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation & Prosecution

Shared Hope International is a non-profit organization that works to prevent sex trafficking and to bring justice to women and children who have been victimized through sex trafficking. 
 

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Utah AG’s Office Obtains Convictions Against Human Trafficker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2019
 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE OBTAINS CONVICTIONS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKER JAMES SAVAGE BROWN
Women shared stories of assault, abuse, and forced sexual exploitation


SALT LAKE CITY – On Thursday, August 29, 2019 a Third District Court Jury convicted James Savage Brown on multiple felony charges-including aggravated human trafficking-against two women. The Utah Attorney General’s office SECURE Section investigated and prosecuted the case and worked for more than a year to obtain the conviction. 

Brown was convicted of the following charges:

  • Aggravated Human Trafficking for Forced Sexual Exploitation
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Forcible Sodomy
  • Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution
  • Tampering with a Witness

A pre-sentence report has been requested and sentencing has been scheduled for October 21st at 1:30 pm. AG Special Agents learned of Brown’s activity last year from one of the victims. S.S., after she was released from the Salt Lake County Detention Center. While there, S.S. encountered another woman, J.M., who had suffered similarly at the hands of Brown. Investigators later learned that J.S. had previously reported her encounter with Brown to the Salt Lake City Police Department. Both women told stories of manipulation and coercion, including exploiting drug dependency, threatened or actual physical abuse, fear for their lives, and repeated attempts and/or success in forced prostitution by Brown.

Collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office and the Salt Lake City Police Department was instrumental in identifying the victims and corroboration the victims’ reports. Once identified, the two victims received counseling and other services through a partner agency of the Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force, The Refugee and Immigrant Center—Asian Association of Utah.

“I am very proud of my team of investigators, prosecutors and victim advocates including Russell Smith, Tye Christensen, Michelle Rasmussen, and Ruthie Pedregon for their hard work and professionalism in obtaining justice for the women are survivors of James Savage Brown’s crimes,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “We are also relieved that the victims are safe and receiving the best resources we have at our disposal. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that we in the Utah AGO are deeply committed to combat with aggressive investigations and prosecutions.”

The Attorney General’s SECURE Strike force executed the investigation and arrest. SECURE is tasked by the Utah Legislature with investigating and prosecuting large-scale criminal operations, including human trafficking.

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


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 NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the charging documents and probable cause statement here:  https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/James-Brown-Savage.pdf.
  2. Read more about the AG’s SECURE Strike Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/secure-task-force/.
  3. You can find more information on the Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking/.

Sex Trafficking a Major Concern in Southern Utah

August 15, 2019

Sex trafficking is a major concern in southern Utah. Due to its proximity to major cities and its moderate climate, the area is ideal for traffickers’ primary targets, such as the homeless and runaways. Traffickers watch malls, parks, and schools to find their victims, then enslave them by getting the victims addicted to drugs.

Law enforcement say that rotations happen every 7 to 8 months. Young women are trafficked from Las Vegas to St. George, Salt Lake City, Washington state, California, and then back.

“They [traffickers] think they can make money in St. George at any given time. They’ll send those young women up here, and they use narcotics to keep a rope around the women to control them,” said Leo Lucy, Chief of Investigations at the Utah Attorney General’s Office, during an interview with ABC 4 News.

Law enforcement is actively investigating human trafficking, and conduct sting operations several times a year.

To report tips regarding human trafficking, please contact the Utah Attorney General’s Office:

  • Utah Human Trafficking Tipline: 801-200-3443
  • Internet Crimes Against Children Tipline: 801-281-1211
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