A federal jury has convicted a Rochester man of sex trafficking minors and adults.
Stephen Jones, 30, was found guilty of conspiring to recruit underage girls to commit commercial sex acts, and sex trafficking of minors and adults by force, fraud or coercion.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that between 2011 and June 2014, Jones conspired with others to target and manipulate seven minor victims and two adult victims, many of whom were at-risk and vulnerable, to engage in prostitution activities.
While some victims were located through social media accounts, Jones went to the Department of Social Services or women shelters and waited until girls appearing young in age came outside.
Victims were promised quick money and drugs, and on other occasions, threatened with violence.
The victims were taken from the Rochester area to Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Utica, and New Jersey in order to engage in prostitution activities and avoid detection by law enforcement.
To keep control over the victims, Jones and the others kept the money victims earned from prostitution activities, as many as 10 clients a day, and limited the victims’ communications with family and friends.
Jones faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life.
Sentencing for Jones is scheduled for Dec. 5.