Man found guilty of trying to sell 16-year-old into prostitution
Posted November 22, 2019 4:07 p.m. EST
Durham, N.C. — A man was sentenced Friday to at least 18 years in prison after a Durham County jury found him guilty of human trafficking, authorities said.
Corey Oliver Smith was convicted of attempted human trafficking of a minor and first-degree kidnapping. District Attorney Satana Deberry said it's the first human trafficking conviction in Durham County in eight years.
"We know human trafficking is prevalent in our state, yet the charge is very difficult to prove in court because human trafficking is based on suppressing victims through manipulation and threats," Deberry said in a statement. "This extremely rare verdict is a testament not only to the skill and dedication of our staff, but to what can be accomplished when the justice system believes victims and puts its resources toward holding accountable those who cause serious harm in our community."
Assistant District Attorney Kendra Montgomery-Blinn argued during the week-long trial that Smith had taken a 16-year-old girl from Charlotte to Greensboro and then to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport against her will in an attempt to send her out of state to work as a prostitute.
"We believe this person had a prior pattern of similar conduct in other states," Montgomery-Blinn said in a statement. "That pattern ends in Durham."
Smith was arrested and the girl was rescued in April 2018.
He was sentenced to consecutive terms of 127 to 213 months in prison and 89 to 167 months in prison on the two charges.
Deberry noted that, according to the North Carolina Sentencing Commission, only five people were convicted of human trafficking of a minor in North Carolina state courts between 2013 and 2017.