Federal Jury Finds South L.A. Guilty of Recruiting Teenage Girls for Commercial Sex Work and Trafficking an Adult via Threats
“Operation Cross Country,” an FBI-led nationwide effort which ran in August 2022, focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals and criminal enterprises involved in both child sex trafficking and human trafficking.
A federal jury convicted Donavin Dwayne Bradford, 31, of South Los Angeles of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking with a minor, three counts of sex trafficking of a minor, three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce a sexually explicit visual depiction, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of sex trafficking through threats of force, fraud, or coercion. The evidence at trial showed that from the summer of 2021 to February 2022, Bradford conspired with Layla Kalani Valdivia, 23, of Ventura, to cause one of the minor victims – a then-15-year-old girl – to be used for commercial sex acts. Bradford recruited the victim to work for him as a commercial sex worker. As the victim's “pimp,” Bradford expected the girl to earn him $1,000 per night.
Bradford and Valdivia advertised the girl for commercial sex work on various websites. Customers who responded to the ads were directed to various hotels and motels where they engaged in commercial sex acts with the victim. Sometimes the minor victim would be required to perform sex acts with Valdivia and a sex client together. Customers paid Bradford for “dates” with the victim or she would be required to give Bradford or Valdivia her earnings.Bradford assaulted the minor victim when she tried to stop working for him on two separate occasions. Bradford also filmed himself engaging in sex acts on two separate occasions with her.
From March 2021 to November 2021, Bradford recruited and enticed two other girls – ages 16 and 17 – to engage in commercial sex activity. From May 2021 to August 2022, Bradford also recruited and sex trafficked an adult victim through threats of force, fraud or coercion, including multiple instances of violence.
Bradford faces at least 15 years in federal prison and could even get life. Valdivia pleaded guilty in December 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and one count of sex trafficking of a minor. She faces at least 10 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.