Thursday, February 14, 2013

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Texas Attorney General’s Special Investigations, Fugitive Unit Officers Arrest Suspected Sex Trafficker in Austin

AUSTIN – The Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive and Special Investigations Units arrested Deondre J. Jenkins, 27, in Austin, on felony human trafficking charges. The victim is a 16-year-old female runaway who the defendant trafficked and forced into prostitution.

The Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) human trafficking investigation into Jenkins originated with a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Based on the NCMEC referral, Fugitive Unit and Special Investigations Unit (SIU) officers identified a 16-year-old runaway girl who appeared to be engaging in prostitution. Further investigation by SIU and Fugitive Unit officers indicated that Jenkins had recruited the young runaway and subsequently compelled her to engage in at least 100 paid sexual encounters. Jenkins retained the proceeds for his personal financial benefit.

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Deondre J. Jenkins

According to SIU investigators, Jenkins transported the 16-year-old trafficking victim to Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. Further, he used online advertisements to solicit paid sexual encounters with the girl. After tracing Jenkins’ most recent online advertisement to Milwaukee, Wis., SIU officers – with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety – contacted the Milwaukee Police Department. Based on the information provided by Texas law enforcement officials, Milwaukee police officers successfully located the victim and took her into protective custody. Travis County Sheriff’s Department authorities transported her back to Austin.

Jenkins was arrested Wednesday shortly after he returned to Texas. The defendant is charged with one count of trafficking a child for sexual purpose, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Jenkins is currently incarcerated at the Travis County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond.

In 2009, the State of Texas took major steps to fight human trafficking by creating the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. Attorney General Abbott chairs the Task Force, which just issued its 2012 “Texas Response to Human Trafficking” report. On Feb. 12, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Rep. Senfronia Thompson introduced new legislation that combined all of the recommendations presented in the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force’s report.

For more information about the Office of the Attorney General’s battle against human trafficking and a copy of the 2012 report, visit the agency’s website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.