Mesa police arrest man for allegedly trafficking teen girls

Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 01:46:58-04

PHOENIX — The Mesa Police Department has arrested a man accused of prostituting underage girls at Valley hotels.

Police say 37-year-old Jason Vangundy met several teen girls through online apps, and would eventually start buying them cell phones to use to arrange sexual encounters.

One victim told police that Vangundy had four runaway girls living in his apartment and arranged for them to have sexual encounters with unknown men in exchange for money.

One victim said that she felt “compelled” to perform the sexual acts because he provided her with food, shelter and a cell phone. Two other victims are still outstanding. They are believed to be 16 and 17 years old.

After his arrest by the Mesa Police Department's Human Exploitation and Trafficking Squad, Vangundy allegedly admitted to housing two girls, providing them cell phones and hotel rooms. He also admitted to receiving money from one of the girls but denied any involvement with anything related to prostitution.

"The arrest of Vangundy is a great example of the hard work and determination exhibited daily by our HEaT Detectives. The important cases they work to save lives," Mesa police said in a release. "If you or someone you know is the victim of human exploitation or trafficking, please contact your local police department."

Vangundy faces charges of child sex trafficking, child sex trafficking transportation, illegal control of an enterprise with minors and money laundering.