A man from Texas, who promised two underage girls a life full of luxury, when in reality, they were being groomed for prostitution and took their earnings, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sex trafficking.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon sentenced Antonio Rasheed Benjamin, who is also known as “Papi P” to 30 years behind bars for the sex trafficking underage females.
The 22-year-old pleaded guilty on March 24th. He must also complete ten years of supervised release after he finished his sentence, according to Abe Martinez, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.
Under supervised release, Benjamin will have to adhere to strict requirements intended to restrict his contact with children and the Internet.
In addition, he will also be required to register as a sex offender, ABC13 reported.
The probe into his actions was launched in 2016 when a woman he assaulted called law enforcement. Court records indicated that she told Houston authorities that Benjamin “pimped” a 17-year-old.
When investigators questioned the victim, she said her perpetrator forced her to prostitute. She noted that her mother kicked her out of their house after which she resided with Benjamin. He brought her to school every day while pimping her out in a Houston hotel in the evenings.
The man taught her how to speak to clients on the phone and told her to charge $200 for an hour and $120 for half. He even forced her to have sex with two or more client per night.
According to investigators, this victim had unprotected sex with Benjamin, who also physically abused her. The other victim told authorities that the girls who stripped in clubs for him had to make $100 a night or face “consequences.”
He often left his victims stranded in unknown areas. One of the girls recalled an incident in which Benjamin punched her in the chest. Apparently, he was aware that both were minors.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said the suspect lured his victims with promises of a lavish lifestyle but forced them to work as strippers and prostitutes. He took all of the cash they earned. He also regularly brought women to and from strip clubs, rented hotel rooms for commercial sex acts, and posted the girls on backpage.com.
Backpage terminated its online adult sex ads after intense pressure from two state attorney generals and a U.S. Senate investigative panel. Still, some authorities and anti-sex trafficking groups displayed concerns that these Backpage ads continue to run in a separate “dating” section.
Benjamin remains behind bars pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
The Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA), formed in 2004, conducted the probe.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston launched the HTRA as a collaboration of local, state, and federal police agencies working to target human traffickers and provide services to victims.
The site added that sex trafficking poses a particular issue in the Southern District. Traffickers often take advantage of the poor and economically unstable, luring them with false promises of good pay and better lives but deliver brutal and inhumane conditions as sex workers.