Artavius Horne had taken advantage of children before.
The 36-year-old Philadelphia man was already a registered sex offender, according to court documents, as he continued exploiting children, selling three minors for years and transporting them from Northeast Philadelphia to New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and Maryland as part of his sex-trafficking business.
The victims testified they were sold for sex 10 or more times a day, every day.
Horne, convicted at a three-day trial in September in federal court in Philadelphia, was sentenced Tuesday to 45 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced. Horne’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The psychological damage to these children resulting from these offenses will be lifelong and significant,” the government wrote in a memo seeking a life sentence. “They will have to endure the shame and degradation of this experience for the rest of their young lives.”
All three girls testified that they met Horne, also known as “Lo,” while they were homeless and struggling with substance abuse — and that he took advantage of them. He provided “trap” apartments for them to live in throughout Philadelphia, and took lewd photos to post as advertisements on Backpage.com with a description of each girl and a phone number to call. They were teenagers — one as young as 13 — during the time that he trafficked them between 2013 and 2015, and in 2018, according to court records.
The children are not named in court documents, being referred to as Minors 1, 2 and 3.
Minors 1 and 2 testified that while they were trafficked for three and two years, respectively, Horne sold them for sex 10 or more times a day, seven days a week, for a $60 “short stay,” $100 for a “half-hour,” and $150 for an “hour.” Minor 3 testified that Horne sold her for sex 10 to 15 times a day, every day, for the nine months she was trafficked in 2015. She said she made about $1,000 per week “in pieces.” Horne took half.
Horne was convicted in Bucks County in March 2017 for “promoting prostitution of minors.” He continued sex trafficking while on bail and after his conviction, court documents say.
“Horne committed these heinous acts while on parole for doing the exact same thing,” McSwain said in the news release. “He has no regard for the law — or even basic human decency — as evidenced by his willingness to sell the bodies of children for sex to benefit himself. He deserves every minute of the 45 years that he received today.”
The FBI, which investigated the case, asks that anyone with knowledge of child or adult sex trafficking call 1-800-CALL-FBI or go online to tips.fbi.gov.