SALT LAKE CITY -- A couple accused of running a prostitution ring for underage girls has been charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children.
A federal indictment says 27-year-old DeWayne Hopkins and 19-year-old Julia Young recruited minor females to work as escorts giving erotic massages. Then the teens would "profit financially" from commercial sex acts.
"You'd probably be surprised on how many things like this go on. Do I have an exact number? Of course not, because we don't know how many is really out there. But at the same time, I think parents need to know what their kids are into," said Sgt. Victor Quezada, spokesman for the Sandy Police Department.
Sandy police started the investigation and then received further assistance from the FBI. Both officers an agents say in order to catch these criminals, they will look for red flags online, research advertisements and even post ads themselves to lure predators.
U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman said good police work led to the sex trafficking charges and hopes other agencies pick up on it. "Start to increase awareness that these may not just be prostitution rings or simple prostitution, but instead there may be something else there," he said.
According to the indictment, in May of 2008 Hopkins and Young advertised the services on Craigslist, Backpage.com and Cityvibe.com. They would arrange meetings between customers and the minor females at a hotel near 200 West and 7200 South in Midvale.
After a long investigation, Hopkins and Young were arrested last week. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a trial has been set for May.