Camden County man pleads guilty to sex trafficking charges

6 years 2 days 35 minutes ago Tuesday, August 12 2014 Aug 12, 2014 Tuesday, August 12, 2014 3:21:00 PM CDT August 12, 2014 in News
By: Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

KANSAS CITY - A Camden County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to sex trafficking charges.

36-year-old Joshua Smith pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to one count of sex trafficking and one count of attempted sex trafficking, according to Tammy Dickinson, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Dickinson said, by pleading guilty, Smith admitted that he used force, threats of force, fraud and coercion to get two women to engage in prostitution for which he took money between Dec. 1, 2010 and Nov. 15, 2011.

According to Dickinson, Smith met the first woman through an online dating website, and they started dating in December of 2010. The day after the woman first met Smith, Dickinson said, she bailed him out of jail in Eldon.

Afterward, the woman tried to break up with Smith, but he got angry and threatened to kill her, Dickinson said.

For the next year, Dickinson said, Smith physically assaulted the woman and threatened to kill her and her family. Dickinson also said Smith tried to get the woman to start an escort service with him, but she refused.

Dickinson said the woman had an order of protection against Smith, but said he violated it on numerous occasions. Dickinson also said Smith posted sex ads on Craigslist for the woman without her knowledge or consent. Dickinson said the woman received more than 100 calls from men responding to the ad.

According to Dickinson, Smith also met a second woman on a dating website in 2011. During the time they were dating, Smith became very controlling and forced the woman to stop working, according to Dickinson. He then forced her to have sex with other men for money, which he would keep, Dickinson said.

Smith reportedly threatened to kill the woman and her family if she left him and also threatened to harm his own family.

Dickinson said the woman was raped by a group of men while she was buying drugs for Smith, and after that she was able to get away with help from one of Smith's family members. Dickinson said the woman now has an order of protection against Smith.

Dickinson said Smith will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole and will be required to pay restitution.

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