A man from Buffalo will spend more than a decade in prison for running a child sex trafficking operation out of a motel in Amherst.
Derek Harris pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including sex trafficking. Tuesday, a judge sentenced him to 11 years in prison.
Harris ran the illegal enterprise out of the Boulevard Inn Motel, and his youngest victim was just 14 years old.
One of the victims called Harris a “monster” during his sentencing.
“We had one young woman who was forcibly held in a hotel room, and the defendant made her stay there by force to engage in sexual activity,” said District Attorney John Flynn, who explained how Harris used Facebook to find his victims. He would then use Backpage.com and other sites to exploit the girls.
Harris is the first ever defendant in Erie County to be convicted under the state sex trafficking statute, according to Flynn. These types of cases were previously prosecuted exclusively by the federal government. The U.S. Attorney’s Office still prosecutes sex trafficking cases. Many different law enforcement agencies at all levels work together as part of a task force to solve sex trafficking cases.