BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jasmin Osteen, 23, of Jamestown, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with two counts of sex trafficking of a minor. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison.
“As alleged in the criminal complaint, this woman exploited two vulnerable young girls for her own financial benefit,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “The depravity of the defendant’s conduct and the harm she caused to these two minors are the stuff of which parental nightmares are made. I want to commend the members of federal, state, and local law enforcement, who, working with the tremendous child advocates serving our community, took swift and certain action to rescue these victims and to protect others from this predatory defendant.”
“The egregious acts identified as part of this investigation demonstrated a lack of regard for human life,” said Kevin Kelly, HSI Special Agent-in-Charge. “Homeland Security Investigations is committed to investigating these victim based crimes and bringing to justice those who prey on the most vulnerable in our communities.”
“This investigation and arrest are a result of interagency cooperation,” stated Chautauqua County Sheriff James B. Quattrone. “Human Trafficking is all too real and continues to victimize too many people. These investigations will continue with the help of our federal, state, and local partners. And we continue to ask for the public to report any suspicious activity as this form of slavery cannot continue.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash, who is handling the case, stated according to the complaint, on September 23, 2020, the mother and grandmother of Minor Victim 1 reached out to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and expressed concern because Minor Victim 1 was involved in prostitution and using drugs. They also expressed concern that the defendant may have been trafficking Minor Victim 1 for sexual exploitation. The mother and grandmother provided screen shots of messages between Osteen and Minor Victim 1 talking about having sex for money. According to the complaint, Minor Victim 1 moved in with the defendant in August 2020.
On October 30, 2020, Minor Victim 1 obtained housing and services at the Safe House in Jamestown, NY, and advised staff that she was forced to have sex with multiple unknown adults in exchange for money that was given to Osteen. Staff advised the New York State Police. According to the complaint, during an interview at the Jamestown Child Advocacy Program, Minor Victim 1 stated that the defendant took her to Buffalo and other cities and rented hotel rooms for the purpose of having sex buyers engage in sexual acts with Minor Victim 1. She also stated that during one these trips to Buffalo, a second minor victim was also forced to engage in sexual activity. According to Minor Victim 1, Osteen threatened that she would be harmed if she talked about anything. During an interview with investigators, Minor Victim 2 also stated that the defendant drove her and Minor Victim 1 to a Buffalo hotel, gave them alcohol, and forced them to have sex for money.
The defendant made an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. and was detained.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly; the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff James B. Quattrone; the New York State Police, under the direction of Major James Hall; the Jamestown Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Timothy Jackson; and the Ellicott Police Department, under the direction of Chief William Ohnmeiss Jr.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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