A sex trafficker who abused women and girls — even branding them with tattoos to mark them as his — has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in upstate New York. The convicted criminal, Stephen Jones, had faced a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that authorities describe Jones as one of the most violent sex traffickers the area has ever seen:
“Jones sexually trafficked and abused women and children for his own commercial and financial gain,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola wrote about Jones in court papers. “Jones beat his girls. Jones threatened his girls. Jones kept his girls drug-dependent so that he could exploit them using their addiction.”
Jones used the abbreviation B.A.M. — for “by any means” — in tattoos on some of the women he trafficked, prosecutors say.
Federal authorities say that Jones was one of the more violent sex traffickers they have seen locally, and deserving of the most severe punishment. He even continued with his sex trafficking when he was in the county jail, authorities say.
A jury in September convicted Jones on five counts of sex trafficking. In recorded phone calls from jail Jones inquired about the profits of the women he continued to exploit from behind bars.
One 16-year-old girl who was pulled into Jones’ trafficking ring was forced to sell sex five to ten times a day. When she tried to refuse, Marangola says that Jones “physically assaulted her by choking her and attempting to throw her down a flight of stairs to get her back in line. He threatened to drag her across the gravel on the street to scrape off her BAM tattoo.”
Douglas Gregory, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the Rochester office added, “He exploited vulnerable young women and attempted to dehumanize and objectify them for his own profit.”