A Boston man has been charged in a four-count indictment with sex trafficking a young adult victim and transporting a minor to New York and Connecticut and New York to engage in commercial sex, according to federal authorities.
Leon Blount III, 30, is charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, and three counts of transportation of minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to federal authorities. Blount has been in custody since September 2022 and is due to appear in federal court in Boston on Jan. 19, 2023, authorities said.
Authorities, citing charging documents, said that, beginning in the fall 2021, Blount allegedly began “grooming a young adult victim, Jane Doe 1, to engage in commercial sex,” including allegedly pressuring the victim into creating pornographic videos that were distributed online.
“Later, he allegedly insisted that Jane Doe 1 earn money for him by performing commercial sex acts. Jane Doe 1 was posted on websites that advertise commercial sex and Blount allegedly drove her throughout Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut to perform sex acts for his financial benefit,” authorities said in a statement.
Authorities also allege that, to maintain control, Blount threatened harm to the victim if she ever left his trafficking operation. During one incident, Blount allegedly threw a rock through the window of the car the victim was in, tried to pull her out of the car while spraying her in the face with pepper spray, then drove over her leg as she tried to flee, authorities said..
Authorities also allege, also citing charging documents, that in 2022, Blount brought a 17-year-old victim to New York and Connecticut “to engage in commercial sex for his financial benefit.”
Authorities said Blount allegedly met the 17-year-old while she was living at a group home for transitional age adolescents, gave her alcohol and marijuana, and recruited her to travel out-of-state to engage in commercial sex. Blount also allegedly “put her in hotel rooms in Woburn and Hartford, where he directed her to perform sex acts to earn money for him,” the federal statement said.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Whether labor or sex trafficking, if someone is profiting off of a person they control through threat, force or coercion, they are committing a felony. We allege that Mr. Blount targeted two victims – one of whom was a minor – whom he groomed and trafficked to engage in commercial sex across multiple states and used extreme violence to keep one of his victims under his control,” said Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins.
Rollins noted, “January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and, with the perseverance and bravery of the victims, our dedicated Civil Rights & Human Trafficking Unit will spare no expense or resource to protect our communities, our children, and our Commonwealth from this growing public health threat.”
“HSI New England, and our law enforcement partners, are constantly watching closely for indicators of human trafficking and child exploitation throughout our community,” said Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England.
Anyone who is or knows someone who may be impacted or experiencing commercial sex trafficking, can visit https://polarisproject.org/ for information and resources.