A former Hartford resident was sentenced Friday to 121 months in federal prison on a child sex trafficking charge.
Bruce Damico, 35, formerly of Providence, R.I., and Queens, N.Y., pleaded guilty in March, admitting that he had employed a girl under the age of 18 in his prostitution business between June 2009 and January 2010, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Damico posted photos of her on the Internet to advertise her services, and he and others transported her between Connecticut and adjacent states for appointments, according to the release.
According to court documents and proceedings, Damico recruited, harbored and transported girls and women to engage in prostitution. He would post ads on the Internet offering the women and girls for commercial sex acts, and require them to pay him $100 a day to maintain the ads, the news release said.
He also booked hotel rooms for them to engage in commercial sex acts, arranged transportation for them to get to the appointments and sold them drugs at inflated priced, the release said.
In addition to the prison time and 10 years of supervised release, he was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the girl. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Bloomfield Police Department.
In the last few years, 130 girls and boys in the state have been identified as sex slaves, almost all of them foster children under state Department of Children and Families custody.
DCF has been trying to fight child sex trafficking by training teachers, police and hospital staff to identify victims and get them referred so they can get help. The state legislature this year also increased penalties for those found to be intentionally selling or buying children for sex.
An estimated 200,000 children in the U.S. are trafficked each year.