For release on November 9, 2018
Patrick Vanier, Deputy District Attorney
Human Trafficking Unit
TASK FORCE RESCUES HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM, STOCKTON MAN CHARGED
A 33-year-old Stockton man has been charged with sex trafficking a young woman from San Jose to Salt Lake City, Utah.
After calling authorities for help, the woman was rescued by the Santa Clara Human Trafficking Task Force late last week after they tracked her to a downtown motel and her abuser to a football game between the 49ers and the Raiders.
Anthony Wright Thomas Jr. faces three felony counts of sex trafficking and a variety of felony pimping and pandering charges. If convicted, he faces incarceration in prison. His next court date is on November 26th in the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
Prosecutor Patrick Vanier said: “Human traffickers will have no haven in Santa Clara County. At the heart of this case is a terrified young woman, who was threatened, beaten and exploited for cash. Protecting her safety and her rights are why we on this task force do what we do.”
Made up of local law enforcement and members of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the Law Enforcement to Investigate Human Trafficking Task Force (LEIHT) prosecutes suspected pimps/abusers and rescues and reintegrates victims of human trafficking.
The defendant first contacted the victim on Instagram early last year. After buying her a train ticket to Stockton, the defendant sexually exploited the victim by prostituting her in five states over several months. Last month, she was forced to engage in prostitution in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Boise, Tri-Cities, WA., Portland, OR., Eugene, OR., Sacramento, Stockton, Los Angeles and San Jose. Thomas threatened her and her family and beat her repeatedly. After the defendant choked and beat the victim in Las Vegas, she texted the National Human Trafficking Hotline for help at “BeFree” (233733.) They were unable to find her.
Last week, she reached out to the hotline again. This time, LEIHT – with assistance from the FBI and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department – converged on a Motel 6 on North First Street. There, they found the victim and the defendant. He was taken into custody and remains there with no bail. Should you or anyone you know need help, please contact the Anonymous Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.