Tenn. Man Gets 24 Years for NOLA Sex Ring

     (CN) — A Memphis, Tenn., man was sentenced Wednesday to 24 and a half years in prison for his role in a sex-trafficking scheme operated out of the Riviera Motel in New Orleans.
     Granville Robinson, 27, pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiring to commit sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking. He was the seventh defendant to admit to charges in the case, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
     Robinson and six co-defendants, including the owner of the Riviera Motel, were charged in October 2014. Another man was charged separately. All six pleaded guilty before Robinson entered his pleas this week.
     The Memphis resident admitted that he forced women he trafficked to make a minimum amount of money each day, give him all their earnings, and made some of them get tattoos signifying that they belonged to him, according to the Justice Department.
     He also reportedly acknowledged that he once kicked a pregnant woman in the abdomen for texting without his permission, and beat another for trying to plan an escape.
     Robinson admitted to coercing more than 10 different women into prostitution for his benefit, operating out of various motels including the Riviera, prosecutors said.
     He was sentenced to 294 months in prison Wednesday. A restitution hearing is scheduled for July 13.
     “Of the seven defendants convicted in this prosecution, Robinson was the most violent,” said Eastern Louisiana U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said in a statement. “He regularly used physical abuse to coerce vulnerable victims — including a pregnant woman — into a life of prostitution for his benefit. Today’s lengthy sentence was certainly warranted, and it reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that human traffickers like Robinson are held accountable for their criminal actions.”

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