SAN DIEGO – Joseph Price was sentenced in federal court today for sex trafficking a minor in San Diego in July and August 2019, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591. Price was sentenced to fifteen years in custody by U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns.
In his plea agreement, Price admitted that on approximately 11 occasions, he caused a 15-year old girl to engage in commercial sex acts in San Diego. On at least one occasion, he admitted that he hit the minor in order to make her complete the sex acts. As part of his plea, Price further admitted to meeting two additional minor females in Texas over “Instagram” and then encouraging them to engage in commercial sex acts. One of these girls also engaged in commercial sex acts in Texas and sent the money she made to Price. Both were being encouraged by Price to leave their family and friends in Texas and travel to San Diego to continue working for Price when law enforcement intervened.
“Sex trafficking of teenagers targets some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community, and leaves in its wake trauma that can affect victims for the rest of their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to ensuring that justice is done for the victims of these horrible crimes.” Brewer praised prosecutor Katherine McGrath and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force for working hard to protect children.
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section. Formed in 2019 by U.S. Attorney Brewer, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Neighborhoods, Human Trafficking, and Project Safe Childhood.