A Long Beach man and his mother were in federal court Thursday after being indicted for allegedly forcing a runaway girl into prostitution since the she was 15-years-old.
According to report, a federal grand jury charged Joshua Jerome Davis, 22, and Sharilyn Kae Anderson, 45, with child sex trafficking, coercion and enticement of a minor, transporting a minor and aiding and abetting. The maximum sentence for a sex trafficking charge is life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. The federal indictment also charges Anderson with prostituting a second adult victim through the use of coercion, fraud and force.
Anderson was arrested Wednesday night by Long Beach Police Department Vice detectives along with special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), due to a previously filed criminal complaint. Davis was taken into custody on a related criminal complaint earlier this month outside a North Las Vegas residence and was transferred to Los Angeles where he is being held without bond.
“We value our partnership with our federal partners to help impact the sexual exploitation of children and to hold those responsible accountable through enforcement and substantial penalties,” said Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell in a press release regarding the arrests of Anderson and Davis. “Community awareness is a critical component to helping prevent other children from falling prey to this horrible crime.”
The victim, who first communicated with Davis online in 2010 when she was 14, told investigators she paid Davis about 30% of the money she earned through prostitution. Although she initially told investigators that Davis was under the impression that she was 19, she later took back that statement and confessed to investigators that he knew she was a minor.
Davis’ mother is alleged to have helped the operation by transporting the two victims when Davis could not, so they could get to the hotels where they engaged in acts of prostitution. Anderson is also alleged to have assaulted and threatened the adult victim so she would continue prostituting to make money for her son.
The arrests are the third instance of federal trafficking charges coming out of Long Beach in the last few months. In May, two men were charged with coercing women to work as prostitutes and in June a man was arrested after allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl to have sex with over 50 men in a two-week span. Claude Arnold, a special agent with HSI, said in a statement that pursuit of those that exploit juveniles is something that HSI and its partners will remain dedicated to.
“The coercion of minors into prostitution is unconscionable,” Arnold said. “HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to bring those engaged in the sexual exploitation of juveniles to justice. We owe it to these underage victims who are being robbed of their youth and their innocence.”
Authorities believe that there may be additional unidentified victims and anyone with information is encouraged to call HSI’s tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or posting information to their website at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/his-tips/tips.asp.