A North Carolina man accused of running a teen trafficking ring across several states, including South Carolina was sentenced to life in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
35-year-old Samuel “Promise” Pratt became the first person convicted of sex trafficking in a South Carolina trial, according to U.S. Attorney Beth Drake.
“The first step on addressing the cancer of human trafficking is to hold the traffickers accountable and that is what this case and this sentence does,” Drake said in a statement. “Those who traffic in sex need to take notice that our office, along with our federal and state law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute all those who operate in this destructive field.”
U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten gave Pratt four life sentences after he was previously found guilty of four counts related to sex trafficking. He was also sentenced to 30 years for production of child pornography, 10 years for possessing child pornography, 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm and 5 years for obstruction of justice. The judge also ordered Pratt to pay over $40,000 in restitution to his underage victims who were 14 and 17 years-old.
His mother Daphne Pratt had pleaded guilty to several charges and testified against her son during his trial. The elder Pratt said she ran the operation under her son’s direction while he was in federal prison. Prosecutors said telephone calls recorded from the jail and text messages corroborated her testimony.
Daphne Pratt was sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to sex traffic minors.
South Carolina changed its laws in 2015 to make it easier for law enforcement to investigate trafficking. The measure granted the State Grand Jury power to investigate human trafficking. Previously, only local jurisdictions could handle trafficking cases, which the State Attorney General’s Office said often prevented prosecutors from building a case against those who illegally sell sex across county lines.