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Sentencing postponed for Arizona man found guilty of sex trafficking teen girl

Posted at 11:37 AM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 21:16:50-04

PHOENIX — A man found guilty of child sex trafficking in Phoenix who was supposed to be sentenced on Friday had his hearing postponed.

The Arizona Attorney General's office says 30-year-old Robert Hood trafficked a 16-year-old girl by forcing her to engage in prostitution for six months in Phoenix.

The victim was rescued from a hotel by detectives with the Phoenix Police Department's Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit.

Police say Hood reportedly recruited the victim from the streets of Phoenix and collected her prostitution money for his own benefit. He used his cell phone to record the victim in a sexually exploitative manner in an effort to maintain control over her, according to detectives.

A sex trafficking survivor who says she encountered Hood at many parties while she was in high school, described him as a smooth-talking "ladies man" who used his charm to lure women into his illegal business.

The woman, whom ABC15 is not identifying, says he went by "Hood" and was always inviting girls over to his place to drink, party, and offered them their drug of choice.

"I felt that he was attractive, which a lot of girls in the neighborhood felt that he was too," said the woman.

She also described Hood as aggressive, charming, and flashy.

"He did use his flashy cars; he had a nice car. He had 2-3 nice cars, jewelry; he always had money on him. Whenever a girl needed something, he'd pull money out and say I'll take care of it for you," said the woman.

She engaged in a flirtatious relationship with Hood for a few days before backing off.

"We messaged each other back and forth, you know, commenting on each other's pictures on social media and stuff like that. Then he pretty much came out and told me that I was not going to be making any money for him; he wanted nothing to do with me," said the woman.

A jury found Hood guilty in September 2018, and convicted him on 11 felony counts including child sex trafficking, conspiracy, money laundering, and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Hood's sentencing was scheduled for 3:30 p.m on November 1, but around 1 p.m. court officials said the hearing was postponed pending a priors hearing. Hood is facing a sentencing range of 30 to 171 years in prison.

If you are the victim of human trafficking or if you suspect someone may be the victim of human traffickers, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to: BeFree (233733). The National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 200 languages.