Montgomery man sentenced to prison for sex trafficking of 5 victims

Lonnie Mitchell, 36, was sentenced to 60 years in prison and will be required to pay nearly $1...
Lonnie Mitchell, 36, was sentenced to 60 years in prison and will be required to pay nearly $1 million in restitution to his victims, according to an order from U.S. District Court Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.(GRAY)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 5:46 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Montgomery man will spend decades in federal prison after being convicted for sex trafficking five victims, including a minor, over a period of several years.

Lonnie Mitchell, 36, was sentenced to 60 years in prison and will be required to pay nearly $1 million in restitution to his victims, according to an order from U.S. District Court Judge R. Austin Huffaker Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.

Mitchell was convicted in June of trafficking his victims by coercing or forcing them to engage in prostitution. Because one of the victims was underage, the jury also found the defendant guilty of sex trafficking a minor and three counts of coercing and enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution purposes.

“The defendant used unspeakable violence and manipulation of the victims’ substance abuse problems to control their every move and exploit them for his own financial gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Human trafficking is an atrocious crime that targets some of the most vulnerable members of our society, cruelly robbing them of their dignity and freedom.”

According to evidence presented in court, Mitchell targeted the victims as they were struggling with substance abuse issues, manipulating their problems for his benefit. Evidence showed that he would increase his victims’ heroin use, then withhold the drug from them if they didn’t obey him or bring in enough commercial sex clients.

Prosecutors showed that Mitchell also used violence and the threat of releasing embarrassing information to his victims’ loved ones if they didn’t bring in enough money from prostitution. Control included confiscation of victims’ ID and credit cards, even regulating when and how much they could eat.

“Today’s sentence reflects the defendant’s horrific treatment and abuse of his victims,” said U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama. “Although their physical injuries will heal, the emotional damage caused by their suffering will last a lifetime. I am thankful for all of the agencies that worked together on this case, and for the courageous victims that testified at his trial. I hope this sentence will provide at least some consolation to the victims knowing that the defendant has been held accountable for his crimes.”

In addition to Mitchell, two other co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. Those included Mitchell’s own sister, Nettisia Mitchell.

Anyone who has information about human trafficking should report that information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about human trafficking, please visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

Not reading this story on the WSFA News App? Get news alerts FASTER and FREE in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store!