An Alabama judge sentenced a Rome, Ga. woman to 25 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for sex trafficking children.

Marlette Laishell “Lala” Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of sex trafficking a minor and two counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

A release from the U.S. Dept. of Justice said she recruited two children, ages 15 and 16, into becoming prostitutes, according to court documents.

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As cited by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama, “Smith recruited two minor females (15 and 16 years of age) into prostitution for her own financial gain.”

Smith reportedly found the two minors “stranded in Memphis, Tenn.” while they were trying to get back home to California. She met them on a stairwell at a Motel 6.

“The minor victims were hungry, had no money, no place to stay, no mode of transportation, only the clothes on their back, and an uncharged cell phone,” the U.S. Attorney said in a statement.


“Smith told them that she would help them get back home if they would go with her to Alabama and make $200 each. Smith drove the minors to Georgia then to Alabama where she sexually trafficked them,” the USAO continued.

Smith pleaded guilty on March 23, and was sentenced on June 2.

“The commercial sexual exploitation of children causes long-lasting harm to child victims and the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona. “The fight to prevent and disrupt exploitation would be impossible without the support of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. We are especially grateful for the work of FBI Birmingham in apprehending the defendant in this case.”

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