NEW ORLEANS – A Tennessee man was sentenced to life in federal prison Wednesday for his role in sex trafficking two minors into the New Orleans area where he used force and threats to compel them to engage in prostitution for the defendant’s profit. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.
Timothy Jones, 26, of Memphis, Tennessee, was also sentenced to restitution to the victims in the amount of $13,688, a special assessment of $800, and supervised release after the term of imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman. Jones was convicted by a federal jury in February for eight counts, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking two minor females through the use of force, fraud, and coercion, transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of her engaging in prostitution.
“This sentence should serve as a warning to others that we take sex trafficking of minors seriously,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. “HSI will continue working with our federal and local counterparts to identify these dangerous offenders and bring them to justice. Our work ensures young people are protected from the fear and suffering these predators inflict on their victims.”
Parmer is the Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans field office with responsibility for Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
According to court documents, Jones recruited one victim from Baton Rouge to work for him in prostitution, performing numerous “dates” per day. Jones coerced the victim by promising her a life replete with travel, luxury, and safety by joining his operation. The victim worked for Jones for approximately three weeks before escaping the New Orleans area. Jones beat the victim for not being respectful, not earning enough money from prostitution, and trying to leave him. Jones also forced the victim to have sex with him to “try out” the product he sold.
The second victim was recruited in Memphis, Tenn., in January 2014, and coerced to work for him in prostitution. Jones first took the victim to Louisville, Kentucky, to work and then to New Orleans where she worked for him until his arrest by U.S. Marshals Task Force at a hotel in downtown New Orleans in February 2014.
Jones used various methods to control his victims. Both victims were beaten by Jones to punish them for not earning enough money or disrespecting him. They were slapped and punched to keep them from leaving. Jones beat other females in front of both victims to threaten and intimidate them.
“Sex trafficking of minors is one of the most reprehensible criminal offenses imaginable,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Kenneth Polite, Jr. “A life sentence for this defendant sends the strongest message possible: our community will not tolerate this heinous conduct. Just as importantly, we are committed to helping the victims to recover from these crimes and move forward with productive lives.”
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg and Jonathan L. Shih.
The public can report suspected instances of human trafficking to HSI's tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.