BACK STAGE AT BACKPAGE: Three Delaware Men Convicted of Running Sex Trafficking Ring of Teen Slaves
WILMINGTON, DEL. – The website Backpage figured again in yet another prostitution ring. Three men were found guilty by a federal jury of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, made the announcement.
The verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Dkyle Jamal Bridges, 33, of Claymont, Delaware, and Kristian Jones, 25, and Anthony Jones, 35, both of Wilmington, Delaware, were each found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and of minors, as well as sex trafficking three minors by force, fraud or coercion, on April 10 after a three-week jury trial. Bridges was also convicted of sex trafficking two adults by force, fraud or coercion.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2012 through September 2017, Bridges, Kristian Jones and Anthony Jones ran a prostitution enterprise in which adult and minor females were sex trafficked throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania and Delaware.
THREATS KEPT HOOKERS IN LINE
Bridges frequently used violence and threats to cause the victims to engage in commercial sex acts. Kristian and Anthony Jones helped Bridges run the enterprise by providing security and reserving hotel rooms.
MINORS ADVERTISED FOR SALE ON SEX SLAVE PAGE
The investigation began when a local police officer rescued two minors who had been advertised for prostitution on Backpage.com. Additional victims were identified by local law enforcement after being advertised for prostitution on Backpage.com.
The FBI investigated the case with assistance from the Tinicum Township Police Department; Newark, Delaware Police Department; Delaware State Police; Philadelphia Police Department; Delaware River & Bay Authority and Wilmington Police Department. Trial Attorney Jessica L. Urban of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Priya T. De Souza and Seth M. Schlessinger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania prosecuted the case.