SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 13, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah man has been sentenced to consecutive terms of up to life in prison for sex trafficking a 16-year-old child and exploiting his own adult daughter for prostitution, officials said.
A news release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office said Joseph Moore was sentenced Wednesday to two terms of five years up to life in prison. Moore was convicted of human trafficking, aggravated exploitation of prostitution involving a child and exploitation of prostitution, after a three-day jury trial in January.
The key witness in the case was the child victim, the news release said. “She testified that she was befriended by Moore’s adult daughter, who then introduced her to Moore himself,” the news release said.
“Moore proposed that the two girls could make money through commercial sex work. He helped them set up advertising online, transported them along the Wasatch Front for commercial sex appointments, and collected up to half of the profit made from the commercial sex scheme.”
The child victim testified that Moore also propositioned her for sex in exchange for money on several occasions, although she refused.
Moore’s conduct amounted to human trafficking because he recruited, solicited, and transported a child for commercial sex, officials said. Under state and federal law, the commercial sexual exploitation of children is human trafficking, regardless of whether force was used.
“Prosecutors argued to the jury that, as an adult, Moore had a responsibility to protect children,” the news release said. “Instead, he treated this child victim and his own adult daughter like commodities to be bought and sold.”
The jury convicted Moore after a few hours of deliberation. At his sentencing, Judge Valencia with the Second District Court sentenced him to two terms of five years up to life in prison, and another term of zero to five years in prison, all to run consecutively. This is the maximum possible sentence for these charges. Judge Valencia emphasized that the victim impact statement written by the child victim for sentencing was among the most powerful she had ever read, the news release said.
“To many, it’s shocking that human trafficking can occur here in Utah,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, in a prepared statement. “But like everywhere in America, it’s a tragic reality in our communities. We continue to prioritize these cases and aggressively pursue traffickers who victimize men, women, and children of all backgrounds. Survivors of trafficking may suffer their entire lives from the pain and torment they have endured in cases like these.”
Assistant Attorney General Daniel Strong also commented:
“Human trafficking cases are enormously complicated. A victory like this is always the product of a dedicated team attacking the case from several angles.”
The Ogden City Police Department initially referred the case and assisted with preparation for trial, the news release said.
The interfamilial dynamic of this trafficking case is very common, the news release said. The Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative estimates that almost half of all child trafficking cases begin with some family member involvement. If you encounter or suspect any form of human trafficking, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, at 888-373-7888.