A 28-year-old Harrisburg man and four others will serve time in prison for sex trafficking more than 20 people, including children, federal prosecutors said.
U.S. Attorney David Freed said 28-year-old Terrance Hawkins played a key role in a sex trafficking operation that began in Harrisburg in the fall of 2015 and was dismantled the summer of 2016.
Hawkins was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison on federal charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
Harrisburg resident Miguel Arnold, 33, was the leader of the operation and received 25 years in prison, Freed said. The lengthy prison term was because of Arnold’s leadership role and history of violence, authorities said.
Freed said the group rented hotel rooms and posted “escort” advertisements online. Federal investigators said the sex traffickers solicited prostitutes for the operation by lying to them about what services they’d have to provide.
“They 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.”
People who were vulnerable because of their age, financial situation or addiction were specifically targeted, Freed said. One of the victims was as young as 14.
Tevin Bynoe, 27; Joshua Guity-Nunez, 31; and Emonie Murphy, 23 — all of Harrisburg — received sentences ranging from six to 15 years in prison for their roles in the operation.
The FBI investigated the case, with assistance from Harrisburg law enforcement. The investigation was conducted as part of Project Safe Childhood, which aims to put a stop to child sexual exploitation and abuse.