A 32-year-old man with connections to Kent and Auburn received a 23-year prison sentence on Tuesday for sex trafficking.
A U.S. District Court jury convicted Aubrey Taylor, aka “Uno,” of five federal felonies, including sex trafficking of a minor through force, fraud and coercion, on March 6 in Seattle following an eight-day trial.
Taylor is originally from Seattle, but he lived with others in several South King County locations, including Kent. The victims also lived in Kent and Auburn during various times of his offenses, according an U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman.
During the trial, multiple victims testified about how Taylor used threats, violence, sexual assault and manipulation to control them and force them to engage in commercial sex acts in cities in Washington, Idaho and Nevada and then give him the money they earned, according to an U.S. Department of Justice news release.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said that Taylor “is intelligent and can be charming, and this, combined with [his] use of violence and threats gave [him] effective control over vulnerable people. But today is the judgment day.”
“This sentence should send a strong message that those who use physical and emotional coercion to force and manipulate victims into sexual slavery will be held accountable for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “This defendant put these victims in danger every day he used them – all to satisfy his own greed.”
According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, Taylor took a 17-year-old victim to Wenatchee in October 2014 and sexually assaulted her and forced her into prostitution. Three other victims testified that Taylor controlled them with mental and physical abuse or promises of love and a better life.
The women were transported as far away as Las Vegas to engage in commercial sex acts. Taylor controlled one victim by rationing doses of heroin and using her addiction to keep her working as a prostitute. Taylor directed other victims to get tattoos of his name and nicknames as a form of branding and to demonstrate his control over them.
Taylor violently assaulted the women he controlled on multiple occasions. When law enforcement or medical professionals tried to get the victims to cooperate with law enforcement, they expressed their fear of Taylor. Text messages seized in the case reveal Taylor’s attempts to recruit numerous additional women and his use of threats and violence.
“This case demonstrates the great work that can be accomplished when agencies work together,” said Special Agent in Charge Raymond Duda of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “The task force model and partnerships across the state resulted in the incarceration of a violent predator. Taking this subject off the street significantly contributes to keeping the community safe.”
“Human trafficking is a serious violent crime that destroys lives and damages communities,” said Kent Police Cmdr. Andy Grove. “We are deeply proud of the survivors who came forward and testified bravely in this case and we are equally proud of Kent Police Department’s investigators who worked tirelessly to put an end to this cycle of exploitation and abuse. It is our responsibility to hold traffickers accountable, and we will continue the fight to end this form of modern-day slavery.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Kent Police Department and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office – working together on the North Sound Child Exploitation Task Force. The task force relied on strong partnerships with the Auburn Police Department, the Bellingham Police Department and the Wenatchee Police Department.