Here's another case exposing who really gets targeted under U.S. sex trafficking statutes. Far from the cartoonishly evil kingpins or sociopathic perverts of political lore, it's people like Oregon resident Julie Haner, who as a 19-year-old drove her 17-year-old friend across state lines so they could both make money via sex work. Haner and the girl has previously attended high-school together and been on the same cheerleading squad.
In April 2014, Haner was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges, along with 30-year-old Konrod Steven Mason. After reaching out to her former classmate on Facebook, Haner and Mason had driven the 17-year-old from northern Oregon, where they all lived, to a motel in nearby Vancouver, Washington, about 30 minutes away. There Haner and the girl allegedly engaged in prostitution. Later the threesome moved on to Portland and eventually Eugene, Oregon, according to federal court documents. Ultimately the young women performed sex acts for money on at least two occasions, prosecutors say.
The teen, whom police discovered via an "escort" ad posted on Backpage.com, was not a captive, nor forced into performing sex acts for money. After Portland, she had returned to her home in Lake Oswego, then chose to re-join Haner and Mason.
This week Haner, now 20, pleaded guilty to violating the federal Mann Act, a 105-year-old law which "helped push along the massive expansion of the federal government via an unrestrained reading of the commerce clause," as Nick Gillespie explains here, and prohibits transporting anyone across state lines for prostitution. Haner won't be sentenced until September, but the U.S. Attorney's Office is recommending a four-year prison sentence.
Mason, who pleaded guilty in April, will be sentenced in July and is expected to get a 10-year prison sentence.
Photo Credit: Julia Haner/MySpace