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Iowa Man Receives Life Sentence for Sex Trafficking

Marlin Santana Thomas. Photo by Polk County Jail/VINE

A Federal Court in Iowa sentenced a Des Moines Man to a life sentence for sex trafficking.

Forty-six year old Marlin Santana Thomas was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in May to sex trafficking six adults and a 14-year old victim. Thomas admitted in his plea agreement to trafficking victims from 2009 until 2018 when he arrested in a separate drug investigation.

Des Moines police say Thomas raped, assaulted and attempted to traffic an additional 11 women.

Thomas admitted to using physical violence to coerce the victims into commercial sex acts. He also provided drugs to target vulnerable women at residential treatment centers.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa described human trafficking as the exploitation of persons for commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion; and for compelled labor. Anyone who suspects human trafficking is urged to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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