A Hattiesburg man could face life in prison after a conviction for human trafficking.
A federal jury in Oxford convicted 31-year-old Raymorris Asencio of Hattiesburg on charges of human trafficking and transporting a minor across state lines to engage in prostitution.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony from the victim and local citizens who observed the child and reported their concerns to police. According to United States Attorney William C. Lamar, the concerns were originally reported to the Oxford Police Department.
After an investigation, FBI agents and task force officers from Oxford, Hattiesburg, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana were able to rescue the victim from a hotel room in Baton Rouge in February 2017.
After the conviction, Lamar thanked law enforcement for their assistance in the case and said that they must continue to crack down on human trafficking.
“Combating human trafficking is a top priority for the Department of Justice and our office. Through collaborative efforts with our state and local law enforcement partners in Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Safe Childhood we will do just that. We must protect our children from predators like Asencio.”
Special Agent Christopher Freeze said that it takes teamwork to ensure this problem is eradicated.
“It is nearly unthinkable that trafficking a minor for prostitution still happens in Mississippi, but the jury, in this case, agreed that the charges against Asencio were warranted,” said Special Agent in Charge Freeze. “Our Child Exploitation Task Force constantly focuses on those that prey on children. I want to personally thank the special agents, task force officers and partner law enforcement agencies that assisted with this case, because without these partnerships, these types of verdicts would not be possible.”
Sentencing for Asencio will be done at a later date, and he could serve anywhere from ten years to life in prison. He could also be ordered to pay up to $250,000 in fines.