Delaware Man Sentenced to 21 Years for Sex Trafficking Minors in Mid-Atlantic Region: DOJ

Delaware Man Sentenced to 21 Years for Sex Trafficking Minors in Mid-Atlantic Region: DOJ
Children are silhouetted in front of posters of the Justice and Protection against Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign in 2010. (Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

A Delaware man was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Thursday for sex trafficking minors and young adults throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Anthony Jones, 38, of Wilmington, Delaware, was convicted in April 2019 following a 14-day trial, according to a June 2 press release by the Justice Department. He was found guilty of “of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors by force, fraud or coercion, and of sex trafficking three minors by force, fraud or coercion” following an investigation that began in 2016 when police rescued minors advertised on a sex-ad platform.

The platform has since been shut down by the FBI. Seven individuals connected to the prostitution-promoting website were charged in a 93-count federal indictment in 2018. At the time, it was the second-largest classified service after Craigslist.

Jones, along with co-defendants Dkyle Bridges and Kristian Jones, ran a prostitution ring and trafficked girls and young women throughout the region. Bridges was the leader, and used threats and force to intimidate the victims to engage in indecent acts, while Jones and Kristian Jones provided security and booked hotel rooms.

Jones and his co-conspirators have been sentenced to 10 years of supervised release besides the prison term. He is ordered pay $15,160 in restitution to the victims.

Bridges, sentenced last year, was sentenced to 35 years, and ordered to pay $53,000, while Kristian Jones will have to spend 20 years in prison and pay $15,160 in restitution.

The 2016 investigation began when a Tinicum Township police officer questioned a man coming out of a hotel that was known to engage in prostitution.

The man admitted to meeting the prostitute and arranging the date through the platform. Upon entry into the hotel room booked by Anthony Jones, law enforcement found Kristian Jones along with two minor girls and cell phones containing complicit communication about the sex trafficking conspiracy.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative that began in 2006 to reduce the number of children who are victims of child sexual exploitation. It began with the intent to protect children from online exploitation, and has since expanded to include all federal child sexual exploitation offenses.

“Studies have shown that one in five children per year receives an unwanted sexual solicitation online and at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet actively seeking out children,” according to the project’s page.