NEW BERN, N.C. – A Raleigh man was sentenced today to life in prison for human trafficking. Brandon Marquis Jennings received his sentence in United States District Court in New Bern.
According to the court documents and evidence presented at the trial in this matter in June of last year, from 2013 until late 2016 Jennings prostituted women and children here in the Eastern District of North Carolina and at other locations around the United States.
Victims told investigators and the trial jury that Jennings would use a number of techniques to get each of them to trust and rely on him and would then convince them to work with him and to commercially prostitute themselves. Once they started, Jennings would use a variety of methods to intimidate them and to ensure they remained “willing” to engage in prostitution. At times he would physically and mentally abuse them, deprive them of food and he would withhold all their money, rendering them helpless and unable to leave.
Jennings was charged with 13 counts related to the prostitution and human trafficking activities: two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; two counts of sex trafficking of a minor; one count involving the manufacture of child pornography; six counts of interstate transportation for purposes of engaging in prostitution (often referred to as violations of the Mann Act); one count involving the use of the internet to promote an unlawful business, namely a prostitution business; and one count of interstate transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity.
On June 13, 2019, Jennings was convicted of all thirteen counts following a jury trial in United States District Court in New Bern.
Mr. Higdon commented: “Today Brandon Jennings received a sentence he richly deserved. He was convicted of crimes we call human trafficking – that is, exploiting a person for labor, service or commercial sex. But, in reality, Jennings was running a form of modern-day slavery. He exploited some of our most vulnerable citizens, effectively imprisoned them, treated them as less than human and sold them out for sex to line his own pockets. My office and the entire Justice Department are focused on these crimes and we are committed to prosecuting anyone involved and to ridding our communities of this horrendous offense.”
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and the threats and abuse inflicted on these particular victims show why these cases are a top priority for HSI investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Charlotte Ronnie Martinez. “HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to find and prosecute criminal traffickers while ensuring the victims of these terrible crimes are rescued and get the care they need.”
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations and the Raleigh Police Department investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Blondel prosecuted the case.
Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:18-CR-318-FL.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.