“The Feds Got Big Homie:” A Case Study on the Sex Trafficking of Minors

Course Description

For years, Indianapolis rapper James Young ran a sex trafficking operation with assistance from his girlfriend and his producer, all while on probation for similar offenses. The courageous disclosures of two victims brought federal and state investigators together with the shared goal of shutting down the abuse. The case study will focus on the twists and turns of a retrospective trafficking investigation: identification of various suspects, the discovery of multiple victims, and the use of cooperating witnesses. Investigators and prosecutors worked cooperatively, using social media evidence, the offender’s music videos, and jail calls to build a case, revealing the use of minors and adults in commercial sex acts – all for the enrichment of Young and his friends. In addition to discussing victim identification and rapport building, the presenter will address witness protection throughout the case, including pre-trial obstructive efforts and post-conviction contact attempts.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand how detectives investigated a retrospective sex trafficking case without the benefit of cell phone evidence.

2. Explore different methods used to gain cooperation from victims, witnesses, and conspirators in sex trafficking cases.

3. Recognize the important roles that non-traditional “investigators” can play in uncovering trafficking and protecting victims.

4. Analyze how to think about victim-offender intersectionality in terms of both accountability and victim recovery.

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