INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man was convicted Monday on federal charges involving the sex trafficking of a child.
According to a report from the office of U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, a jury convicted Elijah Vines, 27, on charges related to the sex trafficking of a minor child, transportation of the child across state lines for the purpose of trafficking her and involvement in an organization that promoted the prostitution of other women.
Vines was convicted on two counts of sex trafficking of a child, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor, transportation of a minor and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. The jury found Vines not guilty of one count of tampering with a witness.
According to court documents, the victim was at least 14 years old but was not 18 years old.
Vines is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
"Vines coerced a vulnerable minor child into performing sex acts for money. In short, he profited through the exploitation of a child," Minkler said in a statement. "Holding this predator and others like him responsible took stalwart determination and cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement. But it also involved community citizens standing up and proactively holding the line on behalf of our children."
The U.S. Justice Department seized Backpage.com in April 2018 and shut down the website, which had become well known as a site that advertised commercial sex.
According to court documents, Vines trafficked the victim in Indianapolis motels in September 2016 after bringing her to Indiana from Ohio. Evidence presented during the trial showed Vines took suggestive photographs of the child in clothing he purchased for her and used his account on Backpage.com to post advertisements for the child, offering her for sale.
The U.S. Attorney's office said Vines' iCloud account showed the emailed responses by a number of men who sought to have sexual contact with the child in exchange for money.
Investigators learned about the case when the child was recovered on Oct. 6, 2016 and treated at Riley Hospital for Children, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
The case was a joint investigation involving the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Vice and Human Trafficking Unit and the FBI. The Indiana State Police provided computer forensics assistance.
According to prosecutors, Vines faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced.
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