First person convicted of human trafficking in Louisville senten - WDRB 41 Louisville News

First person convicted of human trafficking in Louisville sentenced

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The man convicted in Louisville's first case of human trafficking was sentenced on Monday. Justin Ritter had pleaded guilty to trying to sell a 17-year-old girl for sex.

Ritter forced the girl to have sex for money and gave her heroin. Now he's going to prison for ten years.

Ritter pleaded guilty in September to human trafficking, unlawful transaction with a minor and drug charges.

The case dates back to 2011, when Ritter offered a 17-year-old girl for sex for $75 to an undercover police officer. But prosecution would not be easy.

"Generally the victims are reluctant to come forward. It's obviously an incredibly traumatic situation for them, and if they get out of it a lot of times they don't want to cooperate with law enforcement or talk to anyone about it. They just want to move on," said prosecutor Kristi Gray.

This case broke when Ritter's victim did talk.

"From the time I found out about it until the time the arrest was actually made, it took less than a day. So, it occurred. pretty quickly," said Lt. Richard Pearson of LMPD.

Judge McKay Chauvin sentenced Ritter to 10 years in prison. He must serve 85-percent of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.

Ritter's apparent bad behavior at Metro Corrections earned him a lecture from the judge.

"If you anticipate getting out anytime in the relatively near future, or just not getting maxed out, you're going to have to do better than that. Because they will not let you go until they're confident that you can live amongst us without being dangerous. Right now that's a really open, open question," said Circuit Judge McKay Chauvin.

Ritter did offer an an apology of sorts.

"I would just like to apologize to the victim, man, that's it. That's all I got to say," said Ritter.

Prosecutors hope Ritter's conviction spurs other victims to come forward.

"These situations are really hard to detect. It goes on in places where generally no one knows what's happening. It's well-hidden from the public," said Gray.

Ritter was given credit for the three years he has spent in jail on a separate conviction. He must also register as a sex offender.

A co-defendant, Rebecca Goodwin earlier pleaded guilty to facilitation of human trafficking.

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