U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
(916) 554-2700
May 28, 2015

Sacramento Woman Sentenced to More Than 24 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking of Minors

SACRAMENTO, CA—Shanntaye Ebony Hicks, 25, of Sacramento, was sentenced today to 24 years and four months in prison for two counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Hicks recruited at least four teenaged victims (aged between 13 and 17 years old) to engage in criminal sexual activity. Hicks posted advertisements soliciting customers to have sex with the teenaged victims, received telephone calls from customers and negotiated prices. She transported the teenaged victims to the customers, and collected money the customers gave the victims. Hicks targeted vulnerable minor victims, some of whom were runaways, befriended them, and induced them to engage in sex acts with strangers by providing them with drugs and alcohol. Hicks also brandished a handgun and used threats of violence to enforce the loyalty of her victims and to prevent them from fleeing from her control. She transported one of her teenaged victims to several cities in California and Nevada with the intent that the minor engage in sex acts for money.

U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “The sentence imposed today appropriately reflects the very real and lasting harm the defendant inflicted upon her young victims. My office, together with our partners at the Innocence Lost task force, will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those engaging in the abuse and sexual exploitation of minors.”

“Perpetrators of these crimes can be male or female. Regardless, those who exploit children and manipulate these victims solely for financial gain will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” said Supervisory Special Agent Maria Johnson of the Sacramento field office of the FBI. “We are grateful for the continued partnership that exists among our agencies who are part of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. These investigators are fully committed to identifying and investigating individuals who prey upon our children to end their criminal operations.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, Innocence Lost National Initiative, which combines special agents of the FBI and detectives of the Sacramento Police Department. Assistance during the investigation was also provided by the Bakersfield Police Department and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Andre M. Espinosa prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.

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