A Hudson Valley man is accused of sex trafficking an "at-risk" teen.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with the FBI, recently announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging 27-year-old Rai Thomas of Mount Vernon with sex trafficking of a minor and use of interstate facilities to promote sex trafficking and prostitution.

Mount Vernon, New York Man Charged With Sex Trafficking Of A Minor

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

Thomas was arrested on Friday and charged with sex trafficking of a minor, which carries a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life in prison, and use of interstate facilities to promote unlawful activity, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“As alleged, Rai Thomas exploited a teenage girl who lived at a residential facility for vulnerable and at-risk youth, and caused her to engage in commercial sexual activity at hotels throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn for his own profit. Thomas’s alleged conduct is particularly insidious given his minor victim’s vulnerable status and living situation," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

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FBI: Westchester County, New York Man Arrested for Sex Trafficking of a Female Minor Victim at Hotels in the Bronx and Brooklyn

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As alleged in the Complaint:

  • In January and February 2022, Thomas recruited a teenage girl to commercial sexual activity.
  • Thomas made her engage in commercial sexual activity on multiple occasions in hotels within the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York.
  • Thomas encouraged and benefited from the scheme in numerous ways, including by recruiting and enticing the minor to engage in sex, bringing the teen to hotels and reserving the hotel rooms where she engaged in commercial sex
  • Thomas also  advertised the teen on various websites to customers for commercial sex
  • Thomas profited from the sex trafficking scheme.

More New York Victims Possible

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There may be other victims of this alleged conduct, officials say. If you have information to report, contact the FBI through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

"Human traffickers exploit at-risk teenagers, using their vulnerabilities against them. Make no mistake - these criminals are forcing children to have sex so they can make money. We are doing everything we can to help the victim in this case, but she may not be the only one. Please reach out to us at 1-800-CALL-FBI to report any information that could help ensure Thomas faces justice for his alleged crimes," FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said.

Police in Dutchess County, New York Help With Investigation

Officials praised the FBI's Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, and the New York City Police Department for helping with the investigation, which is ongoing.

Jackie Corley, Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley
Jackie Corley, Townsquare Media of the Hudson Valley

Officials did not say why police from Dutchess County were involved or release where the girl is from.

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