By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A U.S. court has sentenced a man to 472 years in prison for the sex trafficking of children, a court official said on Friday, in what local media called a record sentence for human trafficking.
Brock Franklin, 31, was found guilty in a Colorado state court earlier this year on 30 counts including human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking of an adult and soliciting of child prostitution, according to media reports.
Television station FOX 31 Denver reported that the sentence was the longest in U.S. history for a case of human trafficking.
"A 400-year sentence sends a strong message across the country that we're not going to tolerate this kind of violence," Janet Drake, a spokeswoman with the Colorado Attorney General's Office, told FOX 31 after the sentencing on Tuesday.
A court official contacted by email could not immediately respond to a request for further details about the case.
Franklin was the leader of a human trafficking ring that reportedly recruited its victims, several women and girls, on Facebook. It then drugged them and sold them online for sex that took place in hotels.
"I can't begin to even explain what he did to my life," one of the victims told local media.
"He deserves every single minute in those walls," she said.
The sex trafficking ring counted seven members, four of whom have already been sentenced, it was reported.
Anti-slavery group Polaris said it had received reports of more than 22,000 sex-trafficking cases in the United States over the last decade.
Globally, more than 40 million people are victims of human trafficking, according to the International Labour Organization. An estimated 4 million of them are forced into sexual exploitation.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Emma Batha.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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