By:  Steve Kelly, Principal in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice

A Baltimore woman who ran a statewide sex-trafficking ring in Maryland for almost two years faces 135 charges related to almost a dozen women she held as sex slaves. The attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer are actively investigating this story and are here to help survivors break the cycle of human trafficking.

A 33-year old Baltimore woman was indicted on 135 charges connected to a sex-trafficking ring that authorities say she ran for two years. The indictment, handed down by a Washington County grand jury, stemmed from a multi-agency investigation led by the Maryland Attorney General’s Organized Crime Unit. The investigation identified at least 11 women from Hagerstown, Maryland, who had been trafficked by Kenika Danielle Leach and her organization. The women were exploited to perform sex acts for money in hotels and motels throughout the state. The sex ring generated nearly $40,000 between July 2020 and December 2021, most of which funneled directly to Leach.

Charges in the indictment include managing a criminal organization and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, threat, coercion, or fraud. According to the indictment, Leach had physically assaulted several of the women in the ring for disobeying her rules.

Police began to investigate the ring after one of the women went to the hospital for painful cramps. Leach was arrested (on unrelated warrants), and awaits a June 24, 2024 court appearance.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is akin to a modern-day form of slavery, whereby individuals are exploited—by force—to perform labor or a service or for a profit.  Sex trafficking is recognized by the United States as one of the primary forms of trafficking and encompasses the commercial sexual exploitation of adults and children.

The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (and its later amendments), criminalizes sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. The TVPA established the framework for the “3 P’s” of the fight against human trafficking:

  1. Protection: making federally-funded health and other benefits available to victims, regardless of their immigration status, and other immigrant protections
  2. Prevention: strengthening the government’s prevention efforts by creating a department responsible for publishing an annual report on trafficking and establishing a task force to evaluate progress, and
  3. Prosecution: adding new criminal provisions for prosecutors prohibiting sex trafficking, criminalizing efforts to engage in these initiatives, and strengthening penalties for existing trafficking crimes

Who Can File a Sex Trafficking Lawsuit?

Trafficking survivors may have the ability to file lawsuits against individuals as well as commercial entities that facilitate or profit from trafficking—such as hotels, airlines, truck stops, and websites. Many of these entities turn a blind eye despite obvious signs of exploitation.

Contact one of our attorneys if you or a loved one has been a victim of sex trafficking. You may have legal options to obtain justice—and break the cycle.

If You are A Victim of Sex Trafficking, You Are Not Alone. Discuss Your Situation With Our Attorneys

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced and compassionate attorney at our firm if you have information about this matter or are a survivor of sex trafficking. We take cases nationwide, and are here for you when you are ready. You can reach us at (855) 244-2031, or fill out our contact form online.