Texas human trafficker sentenced in scheme to get girls to work at strip clubs, engage in prostitution
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KWTX) - Eric Laranze Taylor, 28, of San Antonio, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a jury convicted him of human trafficking and 15 years in prison for aggravated promotion of prostitution.
Taylor was arrested and charged in 2018 after a joint investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.
“This heavy sentence sends a clear message that trafficking will not be tolerated in our state,” said TABC Chairman Kevin Lilly said. “All of us at TABC remain committed to identifying and stopping human trafficking, whether it takes place within a licensed bar or club, or anywhere else.”
The investigation began in the summer of 2018 after investigators received reports that a 16-year-old girl was working as a dancer at multiple sexually oriented businesses in central Texas, including some licensed to sell alcohol by TABC.
Further investigation revealed the girl had been recruited over social media by a man, identified as Taylor, to dance as a stripper at various men’s clubs and engage in prostitution.
Investigators also learned that Taylor provided the child with fraudulent ID documents to help her get hired at the clubs.
Investigators later found evidence showing Taylor, over several months, had recruited at least three minors and two 18-year-old women to come to San Antonio to live with him and work at multiple strip clubs in San Antonio, Houston, and Travis County.
Agents from TABC’s Special Investigations Unit identified and charged several managers at clubs in these locations who hired the minors to work as dancers, resulting in one of the clubs — Blush Men’s Club of San Antonio — having its liquor license canceled by the agency in 2019.
Details of the operation were also shared with members of the Texas Legislature, who later passed legislation prohibiting sexually oriented businesses from hiring anyone younger than 21 and requiring employers to use E-Verify and other tools to ensure all workers are of legal age.
“While this is undoubtedly a victory for public safety as well as all Texans, it does not mean our work is complete,” Lilly said.
“Human trafficking has no place in Texas, and as long as criminal elements use TABC-licensed businesses to hide their illegal activity, our investigators will use any and all tools to identify and stop this heinous crime.”
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