TALLAHASSEE, Florida – A Tallahassee man was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison July 23, 2020, after his conviction on sex trafficking charges. Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced that Dishay Henderson, 36, was sentenced last week following a January jury verdict finding him guilty of enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution and two counts of sex trafficking of a minor.
“Sex trafficking of minors has absolutely no place in our society,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe. “It is a shameful, despicable practice, and the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of this heinous crime.”
Henderson used his Tallahassee residence in early 2018 as a location for commercial sex trafficking and drug activity. He specifically harbored and solicited a 16-year-old girl, prostituting her to others for personal and financial gain. At times, his methods were violent and aggressive. In announcing the sentence, Chief United States District Judge Mark E. Walker noted that the sentence was, in part, aimed to deter others from “preying on the most vulnerable among us.”
Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Spaven prosecuted the case, which was jointly investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“I continue to be amazed by the outstanding work of TPD’s Special Victims Unit, specifically Investigator Beth Bascom. Once again, her tireless dedication to defend some of our most vulnerable citizens has resulted in a predator being taken off the streets. We appreciate the support and cooperation of HSI and our partner agencies,” TPD Chief Lawrence Revell said.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html. The case was prosecuted by the office of United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez, Middle District Florida, Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,500 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.