A man has been sentenced to 196 years in prison for sex trafficking in Arizona.
In January 2015, detectives from the Chandler Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit conducted an undercover sex trafficking operation at a Mesa hotel.
“The fact of the matter is we did get on to him, and he did exactly what we expected him to do.” said Chandler Police Commander Dale Walters said.
The task force arrived in the Valley for Super Bowl XLIX and its purpose was to identify pimps and sex workers.
Chandler police said they learned Leon Daniels, 29, transported three women to the Valley from California with the purpose of prostituting them during the Super Bowl weekend.
"This probably prevented the victimization of countless other young girls if this guy would've went unchecked," Walters said.
According to police, one of the women was a minor. At the time of the arrest, Daniels was on probation for felony offenses out of California.
On July 1, Daniels was sentenced to 196 years in prison.
Walters warns that sex trafficking doesn’t end with the Super Bowl. Any big sporting event brings a spike, including Spring Training. He said that during the off-season, pimps will continue to come into the Valley to try and recruit new girls, specifically preying on the emotions of teenagers and runaways so they can manipulate and trap them.
“People need to start realizing these are not willing participants, though it may look that way,” Walters said. He added that the Human Trafficking Unit also focuses on victim rescues and getting prostitutes out of the life, which is typically dominated by continued physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their pimps.
Walters specifically warns parents of teen girls to monitor their social media and online activity closely and to talk with their children about the dangers of human trafficking, or use the classes and resources that the Chandler Police Department offers to have the conversation.