Human Trafficking Conviction Leads to a 108 Year Sentence
The Phoenix Police Department’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit uncovered a 16-year-old girl in a hotel room that had been trafficked by 30-year-old Robert Hood for the means of prostitution. Hood found the girl living on the streets 6 months prior and forced her to become a prostitute for his own monetary gain. He was controlling the girl by recording her acts on his cell phone.
The jury found Hood guilty of 11 felony charges, two of which were Child Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Hood had a rap sheet already that included two convictions of aggravated assault and drug possession. He was sentenced to 108 years in prison.
ARIZONA LAWS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The Arizona state law regarding human trafficking cases was reinforced by changes that were made when House Bill 2454 was signed into effect in 2014. This bill changed the standards on which a person charged with human trafficking was sentenced. This also helped those who had been victimized by the crimes.
- For a first offense, a sentence of up to 13.5 years can be given.
- If a human trafficker has a previous felony conviction, they are looking at up to 25 years in prison.
- A sentence of up to 31 years is given to those who have two or more prior felonies on their record.
House Bill 2454 also added the additional aggravated charge to those offenders who took a person who is a prior victim of human trafficking, homeless, runaways, or those living within the foster care system.
TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT (TVPA)
Established in 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was created for the victims of human trafficking offenders. Since the inception of the TVPA, there have been many recertifications to keep it as up to date as possible. From the most recent amendment, they changed the wording to be inclusive and represent every age, nationality, gender, economic status, and ethnicity.
Find out the difference between a federal crime vs state crime.
STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING CAMPAIGN
The Phoenix city council adopted a five-year plan in 2014 in hopes that they could reduce the number of human trafficking cases that were showing up in the state. During this time, they used media outlets, celebrities, a hotline, and print to get their message across.
The hope of the five-year plan adopted by the Phoenix city council is to provide, by 2020, more resources to those who have been victims of human trafficking. This will provide continued care and resources, as well as make sure that there are more resources available within the first 48 hours of a first responder finding the victim.
ARIZONA’S NOT BUYING IT
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted 251 cases since January of 2015 that involve human trafficking in some aspects. These cases involve child sex trafficking, sex trafficking, money laundering, or illegal enterprises that take place within the trafficking realm.
The Attorney General’s Office has also taken on its own campaign to stop trafficking called “Arizona’s Not Buying It.” This was done in partnership with Shared Hope International and featured multiple celebrities voicing their support for the cause.