Greenville Man Found Guilty of Human Trafficking, Sentenced to Life in Prison
HUNT COUNTY, TX – After a 25 minute deliberation, a Hunt County jury found Jeffery Barrett guilty of a human trafficking case in Greenville.
On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the jury found Barrett guilty of abusing his three adopted children.
“It is heartbreaking to know this horrid abuse was happening in our state, and it is unfathomable that a person could be so heartless to abuse the foster care system and use children in need of a loving, safe home as slave labor,” said Paxton in a prepared statement.
According to investigators, Barrett subjected his adopted children to continuous abuse through isolation and coercion, making the children work at his puppy mill for years and not allowing them to attend school.
During the seizure, the puppies were taken under the care of the SPCA, and the children were removed from the home.
Barrett was sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine, which is the maximum sentence for this offense.
This verdict comes after Barret’s wife, Barbara, was sentenced to 99 years for the continuous trafficking of children.
“There is no excuse for this evil behavior, and it will not be tolerated in our state,” Paxton said.
Proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2021
Human trafficking is a horrific assault on human dignity that affects people in the United States and around the world. It tears apart communities, fuels criminal activity, and threatens the national security of the United States. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to eradicate this abhorrent evil, to support victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their heinous crimes.
Tragically, through force, fraud, and coercion, human traffickers deprive millions of victims of their unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Often referred to as “modern slavery,” this intolerable blight on society involves exploitation for labor or sex and affects people of all ages, genders, races, religions, and nationalities. As the United States continues to lead the global fight against human trafficking, we must remain relentless in our resolve to dismantle this illicit and immoral enterprise in our cities, suburbs, rural communities, Tribal lands, and transportation networks.
My Administration has prioritized ending human trafficking since its earliest days. As one of my first acts as President, I instructed Federal agencies to do what was necessary to bring human traffickers to justice and assist survivors on their road to recovery. Since then, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with other Federal agencies, has aggressively pursued these criminals, dismantling the financial infrastructure of their networks and arresting over 5,000 human traffickers. In 2019 alone, Federal law enforcement agencies initiated more than 1,600 new investigations into human traffickers and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) human trafficking task forces opened more than 2,500 new cases on the frontlines. At my direction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched its new Center for Countering Human Trafficking, which utilizes personnel from 16 DHS components, including special agents, victim support specialists, and intelligence research specialists, to focus on disrupting and dismantling trafficking organizations and providing support and protection to victims.
A year ago, I was proud to host the White House Summit on Human Trafficking, honoring the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). During this historic event, I signed an Executive Order on Combating Human Trafficking and Online Child Exploitation in the United States. Through this order, my Administration established the first-ever White House position focused solely on combating human trafficking. Last year, I also released a comprehensive National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (NAP), built around the “three pillars” of the TVPA: prevention, protection, and prosecution. The NAP also includes a fourth pillar which recognizes the invaluable benefit of implementing collaborative and cooperative efforts that crosscut all three pillars and involve a multitude of stakeholders and professionals from various disciplines and sectors. Using this strategy, the United States Government will employ a whole-of-government approach to improve our capabilities and build on existing momentum in our fight against human trafficking.
We remain focused on ensuring that survivors of these horrific crimes receive the care and support they need and deserve. My Administration is empowering and funding faith‑based and community organizations to provide survivors with vital services, including medical and counseling services, safety planning, educational opportunities, and vocational training. Further, my Administration has doubled the amount of DOJ funding to combat human trafficking compared to the previous administration and funded the largest package of DOJ grants to fight these crimes in American history. I am proud that these grants included the first-ever funding for safe housing opportunities for survivors nationwide.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic this year, my Administration has been unwavering in its efforts to stop this scourge domestically and around the world. The DOJ and the Department of Health and Human Services engaged with State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and nongovernmental organizations to understand the impact of coronavirus on human trafficking and published resource guides for those in the fight on how to operate and provide services during the pandemic. The Department of State also launched a year-long competition for proposed projects to address the pandemic’s impact on efforts to combat modern slavery. Additionally, the United States Agency for International Development adapted their approach to overseas programmatic work to ensure that survivors are able to access the critical support services they need without delay. No matter the circumstances, we will remain relentless in this work and will spare no resource in offering hope to the victims and survivors of this global atrocity.
While we have reached new milestones in this fight for freedom, we must remain steadfast in our pursuit to end the evil practice of human trafficking and slavery. This month, we restore our commitment to bringing human traffickers to justice and to preserving the dignity and worth of every person.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do proclaim January 2021 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual observation of National Freedom Day on February 1, 2021. I call upon industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, faith-based and other organizations of civil society, survivors and advocates, schools, families, and all Americans to recognize our vital roles in ending all forms of modern slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities aimed at ending and preventing all forms of human trafficking.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
Why President Trump’s Crackdown on Human Trafficking Matters to Pro-Life Voters
The Pro-Life Movement is primarily focused on ending abortion in America and giving support to pregnant women who would otherwise be vulnerable to abortion. While it may seem that the matter of human trafficking is a separate cause, in reality, the abortion and the trafficking of women and children are intertwining causes.
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, wrote last month about Planned Parenthood’s involvement in conducting abortions on women and minors who were sex-trafficked. In that article, Newman quoted from a report published by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) that stated a shocking statistic.
Out of 768 sex-trafficked women who responded to their survey, nearly 90% (683) had at least one abortion between the ages of 11 and 17. Eighty-eight percent of those 683 women, noted that their abortions had taken place at Planned Parenthood.
While, President Donald J. Trump has done much to take away abortion funding and establish policies that respect and protect innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death, what many may not know is that during President Trump’s first term, there has been a dramatic crackdown on human trafficking within the United States.
Since President Trump’s administration began in January 2017, and through August, 2020, the USA Today reported that the FBI along with Homeland Security Investigations and ICE have made 8,559 criminal arrests related to human trafficking. The number of arrests have increased each year – all of which have outstripped the number of arrests during former President Barack Obama’s last year of office.
Another news story reported that during the Trump Administration, approximately 1,300 missing children have been rescued by the U.S. Marshall’s service through August 2020. And that does not even take into account the adult women who have been rescued.
In October alone, a quick Internet search turned up the following news stories:
October 9, 2020, in Reno, Nevada: A sting conducted by the FBI’s Northern Nevada Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force made 28 arrests. All arrestees “knowingly engage[d] in, and pa[id] for, sex acts with a minor.”
October 26, 2020, in Honolulu, Hawaii: A task force comprised of the FBI, AG’s office, the Honolulu Police Department and other federal, state and county agencies rescued five minor girls, ages 16-17, from sex trafficking. Their investigation into the traffickers continues.
October 26, 2020, in Beaumont, Texas: In a story headlined as a case of “Modern Day Slavery,” a two-day joint operation involving the Beaumont Police Department and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office netted the arrest of 21 men, half of which believed they were arranging to have sex with minor girls. Shockingly, the Texas Attorney General’s office noted that there are an estimated 79,000 victims of youth and minor sex trafficking in Texas at any given time.
October 27, 2020, throughout Ohio: Federal, state and local law enforcement joined together in “Operation Autumn Hope” which was an impressive statewide crackdown on sex trafficking. In all, 109 human trafficking victims were rescued – 45 of which were minors. The joint task force arrested 179 male traffickers.
October 27, 2020, in Oak Grove, Missouri: Ten women and three under the age of five were discovered in a human trafficking sweep that included state and local law enforcement. Five men were detained. The investigation is ongoing.
Of the 124 women and children rescued from human trafficking rings in these October incidents alone, if 90 percent of them had at least one abortion, in keeping with the abortion rate reported in the AAPLOG study results, that would mean over 110 abortions may have taken place as a result of sex trafficking.
“When human trafficking is stopped, abortions are also prevented,” said Troy Newman. “That makes ending human trafficking a huge issue for pro-life voters. The Trump Administration has done more to address human trafficking than before it, and we are grateful to them for the lives this enormous effort has saved.”
Vice President Mike Pence held a conference call on January 9, 2019, in which he sought support for the border wall. During that call, he told participants, including Operation Rescue staff, that human sex traffickers and other criminals were victimizing women and children by the thousands, and that human trafficking over the U.S./Mexico was, at that time, a two-billion-dollar annual trade.
President Trump’s border wall has contributed to hindering human traffickers who were pouring over the U.S. Border with Mexico before he took office. Trump announced over the weekend that 400 miles of border wall have so far been completed, making the border safer than it has ever been.
“Trump’s heroic crackdown on human trafficking has saved lives and spared women and children torment at the hands of their traffickers. We support his efforts to protect the innocent – from the unborn to adults – from exploitation, abuse, and death,” said Newman. “For the pro-life supporter, Trump has more than earned our votes. The pro-abortion Biden-Harris ticket, wants to re-open our borders to illegal crossers, and that will surely include human traffickers. That, along for their radical support for abortion, disqualifies Biden and Harris from receiving our votes. I look forward to a second pro-life Trump term.”
AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit and Copperas Cove Police Department Arrest Six Men in Sting Operation
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit of his office, in a partnership with Copperas Cove Police Department, arrested five men for Online Solicitation of a Minor and one man for Prostitution during a three-day operation to locate and arrest online predators.
The arrested suspects include:
Josef James Dilly, 31, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Victor Manuel Vascot, 45, of Killeen, arrested November 20 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Isaac Figueroa Jr., 28, of Round Rock, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Justin Earl Kepler, 31, of Lampasas, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Jesse Franklin Quidachay, 37, of Copperas Cove, arrested on November 21 on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Demerick Deon Hearne, 47, of Copperas Cove, arrested November 20 on one count of Prostitution.
All of the men arrested were transferred to the Coryell County Jail.
“The grotesque targeting of children is a nationwide issue, and this serves as a reminder that our communities must remain vigilant to protect the most vulnerable from exploitation,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I thank the hard-working investigators with my office’s Child Exploitation Unit and Human Trafficking Unit, and the brave police officers of Copperas Cove Police Department for stopping these child-predators from potentially harming more innocent children.”
Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down online predators.
Since its inception, the Child Exploitation Unit has made 264 arrests and obtained 194 convictions on charges of Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.
If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC. CyberTipline 1-800-843-5678
Woman charged with sex trafficking of
girl, 11, on Las Vegas Strip
LAS VEGAS, NV – An 11-year-old girl boasted of smoking cigarettes and drinking booze on the Strip, and she told men she was a prostitute, according to police.
Now the 40-year-old woman prosecutors allege brought the girl to Las Vegas is charged with sex trafficking and child abuse.
In a brief court appearance Friday morning, Gigi Mitchell clasped her hands at her waist and choked back tears as Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia told Mitchell she faces a preliminary hearing next month on seven felony charges.
The girl, who admitted to drinking and smoking with Mitchell in casinos, has been taken in by child protective services.
Metropolitan Police Department officers working at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in the early morning hours of March 2 spotted Mitchell and the girl approaching men in the casino, while the girl wore a “tight-fitting” white floral dress and black high heels, according to an arrest report.
When the two were initially questioned by police, they gave what officers believed were “rehearsed” answers, the report said.
Mitchell told investigators that she and the girl were “selling flower pens” and went to The Cosmopolitan for breakfast.
Mitchell initially told police she had just met the men. Later, she said they were cousins named Brandon and Justin, or Randy and Gary.
The girl, identified in the arrest report as “victim 1,” told police that she and Mitchell had driven to Las Vegas from Arizona around the time of the Super Bowl in early February and had stayed at various hotels along the Strip.
After Mitchell allowed police to review her phone, investigators found a photo of male genitals that she sent to the girl. She denied sending the photo.
Mitchell’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Mike Feliciano, declined to comment on the allegations.
On the girl’s cellphone, police found various messages with men that appeared to be “prostitution related.” In her purse, they found two condoms and three pens.
The report detailed various sexually explicit conversations the girl had with an unidentified man, with whom she apparently had engaged in sex acts.
In one, the man mentioned a desire to marry the girl.
“Tyna (thought you’d never ask) come on now I’m not marry type material,” she replied.
He responded: “Why u say that LMFAO”
The girl wrote back: “Cuz ima prostitute LMAO”
The messages appeared to indicate that Mitchell was aware that the girl had sex with the man.
One of the men, identified as “Tony” from San Francisco, messaged the girl about sex and she replied “Sorry hun, we are already done for the night.”
As of Friday, only Mitchell had been charged in the case.
When investigators tracked the man down, the report said, he immediately responded: “I did nothing with the young one.” He said he discussed sex acts for money with Mitchell before changing his story to say that they “only discussed her giving him a massage for money.”
He said he was first approached by the girl, who wanted to sell him flowers, before she introduced him to Mitchell. When investigators asked him about text messages he sent to the girl, he told them he had been joking.
Investigators later found records of Mitchell renting rooms along the Strip starting Feb. 3, the day of the Super Bowl. She paid cash for three nights at Treasure Island, and later that month the two were spotted on surveillance at the New York-New York, Stratosphere, Bellagio and Paris Las Vegas hotels. One of the men seen on video admitted to taking Mitchell to his room at Stratosphere, but said she “left abruptly” because she “must have thought he was a cop.”
The morning in early March that police found the girl and Mitchell inside The Cosmopolitan, they were seen approaching eight different men within 45 minutes. “Not one time did Gigi Mitchell or victim 1 approach a female guest,” the report said.
“Gigi Mitchell is seen holding flower pens and claimed she and (victim 1) were only trying to sell these pens. It appears to (police) that Gigi Mitchell and victim 1 are using the flower pens as a cover to hide the activity of prostitution.”
The girl later told investigators that she and Mitchell sold pens to men for “anywhere from $10 to $1,500,” according to the report.
She said she and Mitchell would sometimes go to hotel rooms with men “because they would have more money up there … Sometimes these men think they are going to do ‘bad stuff’ so they have more money but that she would never do that stuff … When these men would try to have them do stuff, they would just ‘ditch them’ and leave the room.”
Mitchell is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $500,000 bail.