On Nov 28, 2012, Oneida, N.Y. — Nine Central New Yorkers were arrested on sex trafficking charges of a 16 year old minor child. The victim was a runaway teen who was forcibly drugged by a couple who used her as a prostitute advertising her on Backpage.com throughout the Northeast.
She was given cocaine and heroin before encounters with customers at Utica area motels.
Siblings Lynette Tilden and Edward Tilden and another woman, Alexandria Duvall, are charged with felony trafficking. Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said that the 16-year-old girl was a runaway that returned to the Utica area in February; she was initially picked by a taxi driver, Jakeem E. Penn, who brought the girl to Duvall who then introduced the girl to prostitution in exchange for room and board, and later ‘sold’ her to the Tildens who marketed her on Backpage.com. Duvall and the Tildens were charged with felony sex trafficking. Sex trafficking charge is a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Four “johns” were also arrested, two on rape charges and two for criminal sex acts. Two other men are charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The Backpage.com ads were advertising throughout New York and the East Coast in New York City, Utica, Rome, Albany, Fishkill, Herkimer, Oneida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia and Connecticut, police said.
ECPAT USA commends the work of law enforcement investigators led by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations in Marcy, as well as the Utica City Police Department Metro Unit, New York State Police in Fulton, Hastings, Pulaski and the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office which assisted with the investigation.
We are particularly relieved to hear that the exploited teen has been correctly identified as a human trafficking victim and has been offered services through the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center, according to the police communication.