A Dorchester man, whose arrest for forcing two adolescents into prostitution two years ago helped spur strict human sex trafficking laws, was sentenced Tuesday to five to seven years in state prison.
Norman Barnes, 30, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges that he forced the two teenagers into prostitution at hotels and homes in Eastern Massachusetts for financial profit. He also had sex with one girl, who was 15 at the time.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball handed out the sentence after Barnes pleaded guilty to 10 charges of deriving support from a minor in prostitution, seven counts of aiding and abetting the commission of statutory rape, and four counts of statutory rape.
“This defendant exploited and victimized two young girls for his own personal profit and benefit,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office prosecuted the case with the Suffolk district attorney’s office, and who pushed tough sex slavery laws after Barnes’s arrest.
She added that authorities “will continue to work with law enforcement and local authorities to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Barnes was never charged with human sex trafficking, or the crime of forcing someone into prostitution. The new law, which carries a mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison and up to 20 years for each human trafficking conviction, went into effect in February 2012, after his arrest.
Law enforcement officials cited the horrific nature of the crimes as they called for tougher laws at the time.
“Cases like this one are stark reminders that commercial sexual exploitation is not a victimless crime,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “It puts real people in real danger, and it’s perpetrated by real predators.”
Barnes, who has a history of crimes including drug dealing, was first charged with forcing a girl into prostitution in May 2011, when one of his victims escaped from a hotel room in Quincy and contacted her family. The relatives, who had reported her missing, went to the hotel and notified a trooper.
Barnes, who had returned to the hotel by then , was arrested. He had $19,000 in cash. He was later charged with having sex with the girl, then 15, who told police she was kidnapped by Barnes from a Quincy street.
Authorities determined that he forced another girl, who was 16, into prostitution, as well. Barnes used a website to advertise the victims for prostitution and posted cellphone photos of them online. He brought the girls to hotels and residences in Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk counties, where they had sex for a fee with people who had responded to the online ads.