I am glad that the leader of this man and wife duo plead guilty to sex trafficking. However it is sad to see that the couple only received a year in jail and two years probation. For what this couple did to this 15-year-old was heinous and they deserved a harsher penalty!
Girl Forced Into Prostitution; Couple Gets Probation
Posted: 1:59 pm EDT August 20, 2010
Updated: 6:13 pm EDT August 20, 2010
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orange County girl was walking home from school when she was snatched and forced into prostitution by a couple. However, Friday, the couple who held her captive learned they won’t spend another day behind bars for it.
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Timothy and Aleisha Smith pleaded guilty to lesser charges. They each received one year in jail, which is time they’ve already served, and two years of probation.
The then 15-year-old girl was walking along North Powers Drive three years ago, on her way home from school, when she was forced into a van by Timothy Smith. Then for one month, prosecutors said her life was a living hell.
For about a month, prosecutors said the teen was repeatedly brought to a mobile home park in Minneola, where she was forced into prostitution at least 60 times.
“She went through something that I don’t think anyone could ever imagine,” Orange County prosecutor Ryan Vescio said.
WFTV asked Vescio why prosecutors agreed to a sentence of two years probation.
“This case is so sensational that people in the community don’t want to believe at the end of the day that fifteen year olds are being forced and led into this sort of behavior,” he said.
The teenager was kidnapped from Orange County and taken to a duplex in Minneola where she was forced to live in a garage.
“She told us that she felt helpless. As the situation went along, she was around people she didn’t know; she had no access to things. Eventually, she came to the point where she just gave up,” Vescio said.
Aleisha Smith, 23, admitted it was all her doing. She pleaded guilty to sex trafficking. She wouldn’t talk to WFTV, but her mother blamed everything on her boyfriend, Thomas Smith.
“Got her so brainwashed, it was all this witchcraft and voodoo going on,” Aleisha’s mother, Angela Smith, said.
Timothy Smith pleaded guilty to interfering with child custody. Prosecutors say he’s the one who forced the girl into his van with a weapon.
“How could you have done this to a 15-year-old girl?” WFTV reporter Kathi Belich asked Thomas Smith Friday after the sentencing.
“Suck my ****!” he replied.
Prosecutors said the couple brought the girl back to Orange County. After a missing person’s flyer went out, the girl’s mother was tipped off about where she was and rescued her.
“She is still terrified of this whole situation,” Vescio said.
Out of fear and avoiding going to court to testify, the teen victim agreed to the plea deals the suspects received. Both suspects have been in jail for one year, but they received a relatively light sentence of two years probation with one year time-served.
According to studies by the U.S. government, Florida is one of the prime locations for trafficking children. A recent study found that, since 2001, between 100,000 and 150,000 children have been trafficked for sex in the U.S. alone and that nearly 300,000 kids are at risk. Internationally, human trafficking is a $32 billion a year business.Copyright 2010 by wftv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.