A Texas man will spend up to 40 years in a state prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl and forcing her into prostitution. His girlfriend also pleaded guilty and faces sentencing in the near future.
A court in Travis County, Texas, sentenced 28-year-old Kedrick Nelms to spend 40 years in prison following his June 20 conviction for human trafficking and compelling the prostitution of a minor, KXAN reported on Thursday evening.
“As a result of this successful, first-of-its-kind partnership between my office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, a dangerous and despicable human trafficker has been brought to justice,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
Prosecutors said that Nelms utilized a social media app called Tagged to reel in his young victim. Once he established a relationship with the 14-year-old girl, he introduced her to his girlfriend, Kirsten Violette. The couple conspired against the girl to force her into prostitution in June 2016, the local NBC affiliate reported.
A jury deliberated for only one hour before returning a guilty verdict against Nelms. His girlfriend pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy earlier this week. Violette is scheduled to face a sentencing hearing in August.
Officials said that Nels and Violette forced their underage victim into prostitution in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
The Office of the Texas Attorney General previously launched an education program to help Texans recognize the signs of human trafficking.