Two Individuals Face Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of Children
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 30, 2009|
SALT LAKE CITY—Two residents of South Salt Lake City are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children in a federal indictment unsealed late last week in the first case charged as a part of efforts by the Utah Human Trafficking Task Force.
The indictment alleges DeWayne Eugene Hopkins, age 27, and Julia Young, age 19, recruited minor females to work as escorts and profited financially from commercial sex acts performed by the minors. The indictment, returned March 18, 2009, was unsealed late last week after Hopkins and Young were arrested. The FBI and Sandy City Police Department participated in the investigation of the case.
The Utah Human Trafficking Task Force includes two agencies who are receiving funding through the U.S. Department of Justice to support efforts to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases in Utah and to provide support to rescued victims. The Salt Lake City Police Department received the law enforcement grant and the Utah Health and Human Rights Project received money for victim support. Other participating agencies include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ICE, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Murray, Midvale, Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy and Draper police departments. Those involved in the task force expect other law enforcement agencies and community groups to become involved as the task force efforts continue to expand in the state.
The indictment alleges Hopkins and Young, who ran the business out of their apartment in South Salt Lake City, recruited minor females to give erotic massages that ended in a sex act. The defendants, according to the indictment, took photographs of the minor females and published them on Internet sites such as craiglist.com; backpage.com; and cityvibe.com to advertise the messages. The indictment, as a part of the conspiracy charge, alleges the pair rented hotel rooms for the minors to use in engaging in commercial sex acts, gave the minors instructions on how much to charge for certain sex acts, handled telephone calls from customers and arranged appointments between the minors and customers, drove the minors to the hotel, collected money for the sex acts, and directed the minors to recruit others for the business.
Both defendants have entered pleas of not guilty and a four-day trial has been set for May 26, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart. Hopkins will remain in custody pending trial. Young, who had a detention hearing Friday, was released on conditions of supervised release. The potential penalty for the charge is up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.