Florence Man Indicted in Sex Trafficking Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 01, 2009|
A federal grand jury today indicted a Florence man on charges including the sex trafficking of a girl under age 18, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
The four-count indictment of MANUEL ENRIQUE ZELAYA-RODRIGUEZ, also known as Mecanico, also charges him with coercing a minor to engage in prostitution, harboring an illegal alien and failing to file a report with Immigration and Customs Enforcement about an illegal alien in his employment.
Zelaya-Rodriguez, whose exact age is unknown, harbored the girl in Lauderdale County and caused her to “engage in a commercial sex act” between about Aug. 25 and Sept. 8, 2009, the indictment says.
“Human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor is a growing problem in this district and a grave concern of the Department of Justice. The prosecution of these cases is a priority for this office, and our goal is to focus prosecutions against those who profit most from this crime,” Vance said.
If convicted on all counts, the minimum sentence of imprisonment must be 10 years, the maximum could be life.
The case was investigated by special agents of ICE and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.