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Man gets life in prison for role as pimp in sex trafficking ring

Baltimore residents may be interested in the recent sentencing of a man for acting as a pimp in a sex trafficking ring that spanned from 2008 until January 2013. The 35-year-old Mexican national was sentenced to life in prison on Feb. 19 in a Georgia federal courtroom. The sentencing came five months after the man had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with others to engage in sex trafficking.

The crimes allegedly happened in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. According to prosecutors, the man was one of several who brought Mexican women into the United States for the sole purpose of prostitution. The women claimed they were not allowed to leave the ring and were often prohibited from eating or sleeping until they performed a certain quota of sex acts, sometimes 30 or more in a day. They also claimed that the convicted man took most of the women's earnings.

Out of the 23 defendants in the case, the 35-year-old was the only one to receive life in prison, and he was also ordered pay restitution of over $700,000 to the women. The man's defense team asked the judge to show leniency in the man's sentencing, stating that the need for survival and poverty were major factors in the case. The man also denied forcing or harming the women and said that they were complicit in the acts of prostitution. The judge expressed skepticism about the women being vulnerable victims since evidence showed that they owned cellphones and automobiles.

In this case, the judge still handed down a life sentence despite doubts about captivity claims. Since the crimes allegedly happened in multiple states, the charges were brought to federal court. If the man wishes to challenge the judge's verdict, he may do so through the court of appeals. A lawyer may be able to review the case and show that a legal error was made, which affected the outcome of the case.

Source: ABC News, "Accused Pimp Gets Life in Sex Trafficking Case", Russ Bynum, February 19, 2014

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