HARRISBURG, Pa. — A 28-year-old Harrisburg man will serve up to 140 months in prison after his pleading guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, U.S. Attorney David J. Freed said Tuesday.
Terrance Hawkins was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo, who noted the seriousness of the crimes when imposing sentence.
Hawkins was a principal member of a sex trafficking operation that exploited more than 20 victims, some of whom were juveniles, Freed said.
Four co-defendants were previously convicted of engaging in the same conspiracy that began in Harrisburg in the fall of 2015 and continued until it was dismantled in August 2016:
- Miguel Arnold, age 33, of Harrisburg, was the leader of the group and was convicted of conspiracy to commit and sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and marijuana; possession with intent to distribute heroin, and was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment. The judge noted Arnold’s leadership and the violence he used in the scheme as reasons for the sentence
- Tevin Bynoe, age 27, of Harrisburg, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment
- Joshua Guity-Nunez, age 31, of Harrisburg, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment
- Emonie Murphy, age 23, of Harrisburg, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment
As a part of their scheme, the defendants rented hotel rooms and posted “escort” advertisements and photographs on www.backpage.com, a website that the FBI has since seized and is no longer operational.
The traffickers would frequently solicit women to engage in prostitution by lying to them about the services that they would be expected to perform, Freed said. They would also target victims who were vulnerable by virtue of their age, financial insecurity, or drug addiction.
At least three victims of the conspiracy were minors, one as young as 14 years old, according to Freed.
The defendants would take the majority of the money made during the course of the prostitution business, and distribute drugs to the women, including heroin, Freed said. They coerced the sex trafficking victims through fraud, physical abuse, deprivation of heroin to addicted victims, and threats of violence.
The FBI coordinated the investigation and was aided by law enforcement agencies in the Harrisburg area.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Consiglio and Christian T. Haugsby prosecuted the case.