A former Brockton, Massachusetts, resident was sentenced today to twelve years in prison for participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy.
Matthew Engram, 35, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; two counts of transportation of an individual for purposes of prostitution; and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise. According to court documents, from January 2009 until August 2015, Engram and a co-conspirator recruited and trafficked three victims from a residence in Brockton and elsewhere, and Engram took all or part of the proceeds. Engram advertised the victims on websites, exchanged text messages with his co-conspirator to share advertisements, organized prostitution dates, and reserved hotel rooms. When the victims did not comply with Engram’s demands to prostitute for his profit, he physically assaulted them or directed his co-conspirator to physically assault them. Engram also transported or caused the transport of the victims to other states, including Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Florida and Maine, to perform commercial sex acts.
“Sex trafficking is an atrocious crime that dehumanizes victims by depriving them of their freedom and dignity,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. “This sentence demonstrates that there are severe consequences for those who seek to exploit vulnerable young women for financial profit. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute human traffickers and secure justice for survivors of trafficking.”
“Mr. Engram took advantage of numerous young women through psychological manipulation, violence and fear,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins for the District of Massachusetts. “For over six years, he profited off of their pain and exploitation. Although we can never take away the trauma and violence endured by these survivors, today’s sentencing makes clear that the federal government is committed to eliminating human trafficking and holding traffickers accountable. My office and our law enforcement partners remain relentless in this pursuit.”
“Engram used violence and threats to control his victims, seeing them not as individuals, but as means for profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Millhollin for the Homeland Security Investigations’ New England Field Office. “His callous exploitation violated their basic human dignity as he trafficked them around the country to engage in commercial sex. We hope that today’s sentence offers a modicum of justice to those victimized by him who continue to live with the impacts of his actions.”
“Victims of human trafficking suffer physical abuse and immeasurable emotional abuse from their captors,” said Brockton Police Chief Brenda Perez. “We are pleased to see justice served today and proud of the hard work and collaboration that led to today’s sentencing.”
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Boston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of U.S. Attorney Rollins’s Major Crimes Unit and Trial Attorneys Shan Patel and Vasantha Rao of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.
Anyone who has information about human trafficking should report that information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about human trafficking, please visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.