SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield couple will spend the next several years in prison for sex trafficking women they recruited online.
According to a news release sent to 22News by the Department of Justice, 37-year-old Milford Lewis was sentenced to 12 years in prison and his wife, 32-year-old Tiana Lewis, was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday.
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The husband-wife duo claimed to be the CEOs of the adult talent agency Sinful Innocence, which was later found out to be a front for a prostitution ring. Milford and Tiana pleaded guilty to three counts of inducing travel to engage in prostitution, one count of transporting an individual to engage in prostitution and four counts of extortionate threats earlier this year.
According to the Department of Justice, the Lewis couple enticed young women via the internet to come to Springfield to work as models, adult entertainers, pornography actors, and escorts. In one instance, they transported a woman from Connecticut to Springfield for work. The women they recruited had to sign year-long contracts, for which they imposed a $350 early termination fee. The investigation determined that the sex trafficking victims were taken to a house in Springfield or to various motels in West Springfield to work as prostitutes, sometimes without receiving any pay. The Department of Justice news release says that if the women tried to leave or broke the rules, they were subject to beatings and threats to kill or harm them.
The prostitution ring was uncovered by the Western Massachusetts Human Trafficking Working Group, which includes members of the United States Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, as well as other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
22News was there as Milford and Tiana were taken into custody outside the 5th Alarm Lounge in December of last year.