PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WRIC) — A Delaware man was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in a sex trafficking operation involving minor and young adult victims.

Anthony Jones, 38, of Wilmington, was originally found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and three counts of sex trafficking of minors by force, fraud or coercion.

According to the evidence at the 2019 trial, Jones, and his brother Kristian, helped manage a sex trafficking enterprise led by co-defendant Dkyle Bridges.

The multi-year sex-trafficking conspiracy preyed on teenage girls and young women looking for a home and support throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and elsewhere. Once lured into the trafficking circle, the victims were compelled to engage in prostitution for the co-defendants’ financial benefits.

Bridges used violent and coercive tactics such as pouring water on them to keep them awake, choking them and assaulting them. Jones and his brother helped Bridges run the ring by handling logistics, including providing security, collecting money and reserving hotel rooms.

Jones was sentenced on Thursday, June 2, to 21 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $15,160 in restitution to his victims.

Bridges was sentenced in March 2021 to 35 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $53,000 in restitution to his victims. Kristian was sentenced in June 2021 to 20 years in prison with 10 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $15,160 in restitution to the victims.

Details of the investigation

Investigations into the sex trafficking operation began in November 2016, when a Tinicum Township police officer stopped a vehicle that had recently left a hotel known to be frequented by individuals engaged in prostitution.

The driver admitted to the officer that he had just met with a prostitute using an online service. Law enforcement went to the room that the customer had visited and found Kristian Jones, two minor girls, condoms, and cell phones containing communication with Bridges. The room had been rented by Anthony Jones.

“Anthony Jones and his coconspirators used the bodies of children for their own financial benefit,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “This sentence of 21 years and the decades-long sentences handed down to his codefendants reflect the seriousness with which the federal justice system will treat defendants convicted of sex trafficking offenses. We will continue to work collectively to investigate and prosecute these destructive crimes committed against some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the website here.