RIVERSIDE – A 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday for sex trafficking over 20 females, some juveniles. A missing 16-year-old girl who was found at a Moreno Valley motel in February sparked the investigation. Through the joint multi-agency investigation, the victim was located with four other victims conducting prostitution at the motel. Several of the victims were branded with tattoos on their faces or their upper bodies reading “Classified”, which was determined to be a name Lawrence Gunn Jr. used. Branding is often used as a tactic to dehumanize the victim marking them as the property of the pimp.
Authorities said that Gunn placed advertisements soliciting the victims on Backpage.com, one victim with approximately 100 advertisements posted for her in states as far away as Alaska and Minnesota. Victims reported that Gunn kept all of the proceeds collected from the prostitution activities. Over $17000 was wire transferred to Gunn from an out of state victim over a three month period.
Following the approximately 10-month-long investigation, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT) served an arrest warrant in the 6300 block of Variel Avenue in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles. Gunn was arrested without incident and is named in the criminal complaint filed charging him with sex trafficking of a child, or by force, fraud or coercion. For the sex trafficking charge, Gunn faces 10 years to life in federal prison.
This investigation of this incident is continuing. The RCAHT Task Force believes there may be additional victims in this case, and encourages any such victim to come forward. Anyone with additional information about this case is encouraged to contact Special Agent Kathryn Klesper with Homeland Security Investigations at (951) 955-9344 or via email at Kathryn.L.Klesper@ice.dhs.gov.
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