A Sacramento man has been sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison for human trafficking of a 14-year-old girl in San Luis Obispo County.
In March, a jury found Lucion Lee Edwards Banks, 38, guilty of human trafficking by use of force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury.
According to authorities, Banks was arrested in 2018 after a San Luis Obispo police officer, making a routine traffic stop, suspected Banks could be trafficking the girl for commercial sexual exploitation.
Police say the 14-year-old was traveling with Banks but the two denied being related and had no clear explanation as to why they were in San Luis Obispo. Police say they also found evidence in Banks' vehicle leading them to believe he was trafficking the victim.
At his sentencing hearing, Banks' victim told the court, "I am glad to say, I feel no more fear. I am going to graduate high school. I am going to beauty school. And, also, I am going to have my own apartment. I feel like if the San Luis Obispo Police Department did not make that stop, that he would have kept hitting me and using me."
There are resources available for victims of human trafficking. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 (BE FREE).
In San Luis Obispo County, contact Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP or the District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance Center at (805) 781-5821 or toll-free at (866) 781-5821.
More information is also available on the SLO County District Attorney's website.