Syracuse, N.Y. — A man convicted of running a sex trafficking ring in Ithaca, Syracuse and Watertown was sentenced Wednesday to six to 12 years in prison, according to Syracuse.com.

Eric Oliver was sentenced by Justice John Brunetti for leading a prostitution ring with girls as young as 15, Syracuse.com reported.

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Prosecutors have said Oliver, 30, was the leader of a ring that used physical force to compel young girls to become prostitutes. They were also accused of giving the girls cocaine, heroin and MDMA to get them to continue working.

Attorney General Schneiderman issued this statement when announcing Oliver’s arrest:

“There are few crimes as heinous as forcing women into prostitution and transporting them against their will. Unfortunately, this case is emblematic of the horrors of human trafficking, which is an issue of international importance. We must redouble our efforts to protect people forced into a horrible life from which they feel they can’t escape…

“I commend our Organized Crime Task Force, the State Police, and local law enforcement for their diligent work and critical support in bringing these criminals to justice.”

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.