PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Dkyle Jamal Bridges, Kristian Jones, and Anthony Jones were convicted of sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, as well as conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking following a three-week trial.
From 2012 through September 2017, Bridges led a prostitution enterprise in which various women and girls performed commercial sex acts in southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and elsewhere for Bridges’ financial benefit. Bridges frequently used violence and threats to cause the female victims to engage in the commercial sex acts. Kristian and Anthony Jones, among others, assisted Bridges in various capacities in running the business, including by recruiting and transporting victims, collecting money, and paying for hotel rooms.
In November 2016, a Tinicum Township police officer stopped a vehicle that had recently left a hotel known to be frequented by individuals engaged in prostitution. The driver admitted to the officer that he had just met a prostitute at the hotel and had arranged the “date” through a website called Backpage.com. Law enforcement went to the room that the customer had visited, and discovered Kristian Jones, two minor girls, condoms, and cell phones containing communications with Bridges about the prostitution business. The room had been rented by Anthony Jones.
That same month, a Newark, Delaware police officer, acting in an undercover capacity, responded to a Backpage.com ad offering commercial sex. When law enforcement arrived at the hotel for the “date,” they found a woman and a girl. In July 2017, the Philadelphia Police conducted a similar undercover operation, and when they arrived for the “date,” they found two adult women in the hotel room and Bridges waiting in his car. All of the victims were fraudulently promised payment by Bridges and once enlisted in his trafficking circle, they were subjected to Bridges’ violent acts or feared him based on observing his violence against others. Thus, all were trafficked by force, fraud, and coercion.
“Bridges’ years of trafficking women and girls by force and manipulation, and with the willing assistance of others, are over,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Sex trafficking is a pervasive problem that demands an aggressive response. We stand ready with our federal partners to identify and dismantle organizations that perpetuate this abuse.”
“That these men felt they had the right to sexually exploit girls and women for money is abhorrent,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are working every day to put people like this behind bars and ensure some justice for their victims. We would ask anyone with knowledge of child or adult sex trafficking to let us know about it – anonymously, if need be. Call 1-800-CALL-FBI or go online to tips.fbi.gov.”
The case was investigated by FBI Philadelphia with assistance from the Tinicum Township Police Department; Newark, Delaware Police Department; Delaware State Police; and Philadelphia Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Priya DeSouza and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Jessica Urban.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
Dkyle Jamal Bridges, 32, and Kristian Jones, 24, both of Claymont, Delaware, have been charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking of minors in an indictment unsealed May 11, announced United States Attorney William M. McSwain.
Specifically, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to engage in forcible sex trafficking of minors, two counts of forcible sex trafficking, and three counts of forcible sex trafficking of minors. According to the indictment, Bridges and Jones committed the various sex trafficking offenses between 2012 and 2017.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants and their associates operated a violent sex-trafficking enterprise in which women and several minor children were sold for commercial sex,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Stopping human exploitation, and particularly child exploitation, is a priority for the Department of Justice, and we are working very hard with our law enforcement partners to find and prosecute all such offenders. In this case, we worked with the FBI and local police in both Pennsylvania and Delaware. That’s what it’s going to take to stop the unconscionable exploitation of these young victims.”
If convicted as charged, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 1life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of fifteen years’ imprisonment, supervised release for a minimum term of five years and a lifetime maximum term, a $1,500,000 dollar fine, mandatory restitution, and a maximum $30,600 special assessment.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Tinicum Township Police Department, and the Newark (DE) Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Schlessinger.