Camden County Man Pleads Guilty to Forced Sex Trafficking, Faces 20 Years in Prison
KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Camden County, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges related to the forced sex trafficking of two women.
Joshua Kain Smith, 36, of Camden County, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to one count of sex trafficking and one count of attempted sex trafficking. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Smith will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole and will be required to pay restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
By pleading guilty today, Smith admitted that he used force, threats of force, fraud and coercion to cause a person (identified in court documents as “FV1”—Female Victim 1) to engage in prostitution, from which he benefitted financially, between Nov. 15, 2011, and March 15, 2012. Smith also admitted that he used force, threats of force, fraud and coercion in an attempt to cause another person (identified in court documents as “FV2”—Female Victim 2) to engage in prostitution between Dec. 1, 2010, and Nov. 15, 2011.
Smith met FV1 on a dating Web site in 2011. Shortly after they began dating Smith became physically abusive. Smith was possessive and wanted FV1 around him at all times. When FV1 first met Smith she had a job at a hotel but lost the job when Smith forced her to stop working. Smith arranged for FV1 to have sexual activity with other men and told her she did not have a choice but to participate. Smith demanded the money FV1 received in exchange for sexual activity.
Smith physically abused FV1 and threatened to kill her and her family if she left him. In December 2011 Smith threatened to kill FV1 if she did not travel to Florida with him. Smith also threatened to harm his own family members if she ever contacted authorities for help. Smith threatened her with a knife and tied her up on one occasion. While in Florida, Smith forced FV1 to commit commercial sex acts with customers to support him and his drug habit. After FV1 was raped by a group of men while purchasing drugs for Smith, she was able to get away with the help of one of Smith’s family members. FV1 has since obtained an order of protection against Smith.
Smith met FV2 through an Internet dating service and they began dating in December 2010. The day after FV2 initially met Smith she bailed him out of jail in Eldon, Mo., and attempted to break up with him at that time. Smith became enraged, threatened to kill FV2 and tore all of FV2’s clothing off. For the next year FV2 was in a physically, emotionally and sexually abusive relationship with Smith. FV2 stated that Smith physically assaulted her on numerous occasions, and on at least two occasions wrapped a belt around her neck until she passed out. FV2 estimated Smith threatened to kill her and her family at least 100 times. Smith attempted to convince FV2 to have sex with other men. Smith solicited FV2 to help him open an escort service but she refused.
FV2 subsequently obtained an order of protection against Smith, which he violated on numerous occasions. FV2 maintained many of the threatening texts and e-mails she received from Smith to assist the police in the event she was murdered. Smith posted Craigslist advertisements without her knowledge or consent, advertising FV2 for sexual activity. FV2 received well over 100 telephone calls from men responding to the advertisements.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore. It was investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.