A jury convicted a man, with connections to Kent and Auburn, of five federal felonies, including sex trafficking of a minor.
The U.S. District Court jury in Seattle deliberated less than three hours on March 6 following an eight-day trial before it convicted Aubrey Taylor, 32, also known as “Uno,” according to an U.S. Department of Justice news release. Taylor has a prior history of promoting prostitution.
During the trial multiple victims testified about how Taylor used threats, violence, sexual assault and manipulation to control them and force them to engage in commercial sex acts in cities in Washington, Idaho, and Nevada and then give him the money they earned, according to the news release. Taylor faces a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on May 21.
Taylor is originally from Seattle, but he lived with others in various South King County locations, including Kent. The victims also lived in Kent and Auburn during various times in the relevant time period of his offenses, according a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman.
According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, Taylor forced one young victim into prostitution on a trip to Wenatchee in October 2014 when she was 17 years old. Three other victims testified about how Taylor controlled them with mental and physical abuse or promises of love and a better life.
The women were transported to as far away as Las Vegas to engage in commercial sex acts. One victim was controlled by rationing doses of heroin–using her addiction to keep her working as a prostitute. Other victims were instructed to get tattoos of Taylor’s name and nicknames as a form of branding and to demonstrate his control over them.
The victims under Taylor’s control were violently assaulted by him on multiple occasions. When law enforcement or medical professionals tried to get the victims to cooperate with law enforcement, they expressed fear of Taylor, according to the news release. Text messages seized in the case revealed his attempts to recruit numerous additional women and his use of threats and violence.
“He is a sex trafficker and a predator,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Crisham said in closing arguments, according to the news release. “He sold his victims a dream of a bright future…but what they got instead was a nightmare.”
The FBI, Kent Police, Auburn Police, Bellingham Police, Wenatchee Police and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
“I commend the dedicated law enforcement officers and trial team who worked diligently to investigate and prosecute these crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “And I want to recognize the strength and courage of the victims who came to court and described their darkest moments to the jury in order to hold this defendant accountable.”
This story originally appeared in the Kent Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.