Ark. woman admits guilt in sex trafficking ring

News

October 12th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — An Arkansas woman has pleaded guilty to helping run a violent nationwide sex trafficking ring that solicited customers for prostitutes as young as age 17. Brittany Lawson, of Hot Springs, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking in federal court in Council Bluffs. She faces a lengthy prison term when she is sentenced because the charge carries a maximum of life in prison. But prosecutors agreed any recommended sentence should be shortened because she was under the coercion of co-defendant Johnelle Bell, described as a violent New Jersey pimp and mastermind of the ring. Bell has pleaded not guilty and faces trial next month. Lawson admitted that she posted ads on backpage.com soliciting customers in Iowa and elsewhere, recruited prostitutes, secured rental cars and rented motel rooms.