Leader of Virginia Sex Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison - NBC4 Washington

Leader of Virginia Sex Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

Victims of the sex trafficking ring say he would keep their babies for ransom to force them to keep working for him

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    Leader of Sex Trafficking Operation in Va. Sentenced to 35 Years

    A federal judge sentenced a North Carolina man to 35 years in prison for operating a human trafficking ring across Virginia. One victim told authorities the man essentially held her baby for ransom and forced her to go into prostitution to see the child again. News4's Chris Gordon reports. (Published Friday, Nov. 4, 2016)

    A man who was at the center of a violent trafficking ring that sold women and girls for sex throughout Virginia has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

    Michael Maynes Jr., of Spring Lake, North Carolina, led a sex trafficking organization known as "Horse Block Pimpin." 

    Maynes prostituted 55 women and girls in Alexandria, Richmond and Charlottsville, according to prosecutors. 

    He convinced women to work for him by telling them he wanted a relationship with them or that they could keep some of the profits. Maynes also recruited women who were homeless or addicted to drugs, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

    Prosecutors said Maynes and his accomplices used force, coercion and drugs to keep the women prostituting.

    One victim said she was told if she wanted to see her baby again she had to continue to prostitute and send the proceeds to Maynes. She made as much as $1,000 a day.

    "Her baby was being held for ransom," prosecutors said.

    Maynes became emotional in court Friday saying, "I've never in my life been violent toward women. What they blame me for, I did not do."

    However, Judge Liam O'Grady said Maynes had total control over every victim and he destroyed their lives.

    Maynes' defense lawyer said the 35-year sentence is excessive.

    "He was devastated....He knew the sentencing guidelines were very high. He was hopeful and he will definitely proceed with an appeal," said attorney Thomas Walsh.

    Maynes' girlfriend and mother of his two children, Brittany Walker, was also charged with sex trafficking. According to court documents, Maynes recruited Walker to post advertisements, collect money and take the women to various hotels.

    She testified against him after receiving a plea deal and has been sentenced to 27 months.