Wynne woman sentenced in human trafficking case

Wynne woman sentenced in human trafficking case

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 woman was sentenced to 12 years of prison Wednesday for sex trafficking of children.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Christopher R. Thyer, Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch, of the Little Rock Field Office for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Director of the Arkansas State Police Colonel William J. Bryant announced the sentencing of 30-year-old Amber Johnson of Wynne.

Johnson was indicted on July 7, 2015 for one count of sex trafficking of children.

She pleaded guilty on November 3, 2015.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced by United States Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr. to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

"This defendant took advantage of two young relatives who trusted her," Thyer said. "These young girls turned to her in a time of need, and the defendant instead chose to satisfy her own needs by prostituting these children for money. There is no more important issue to my office than protecting the children of Arkansas, and we will continue to find and prosecute those who take advantage of children."

The charge came from an investigation that began after two female minors who ran away from their foster home in November 2014.

They lived in various hotels, first in Jonesboro and later in North Little Rock, with Johnson and her own two children.

Johnson would leave the girls, who were 15 and 17, in charge of the two children while she visited other places to meet men.

Johnson would give the men her number so they could later contact her to meet for sex.

Once the men contacted her, she would let them choose which girl they wanted to have sex with.

The men would then come to the hotel and pick up the girl they wanted to have sex with.

According to the press release, Johnson began charging $20, but increased to $50 and sometimes charged $100.

Arkansas State Police arrested Johnson on April 29, 2015.

"We're making the fight against human trafficking a priority and backing up the pledge to place all available resources on the streets and highways searching for the victims used in barter for sex and drugs," Bryant said. "In this case it is noteworthy that state troopers worked alongside civilian investigators of the Crimes Against Children Division, as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the Arkansas Department of Human Services. It is this commitment of multi-jurisdictional forces that will be necessary to identify and arrest those individuals who would prey on the lives of minors and others who are most vulnerable."

"Forcing young children into prostitution is beyond deplorable and today's sentencing demonstrates those that commit any form of child exploitation will pay a harsh price for their actions," Upchurch said. "We will continue to pursue and punish these offenders to the fullest extent of the law. We appreciate the unfaltering efforts of the United States Attorney's Office, the Arkansas State Police, the Jonesboro Police Department and the Arkansas Department of Human Services."

The investigation was conducted by Arkansas State Police and the Little Rock Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from Jonesboro Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allison W. Bragg.

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