Man arrested for sex trafficking minors claims he was just helping them

Jason Michael Vangundy, 37, of Mesa, Arizona. [Image credit: Mesa Police Department]

The Mesa Police Department announced on October 22 that 37-year-old Jason Michael Vangundy on suspicion of sex trafficking teenagers out of area hotels.


According to the release, Vangundy admitted to housing two girls as well as buying them food and cell phones.  He additionally admitted to paying for hotel rooms and receiving money from one of the girls, but he denied that he had anything to do with prostituting the girls.


Two girls that had dealings with Vangundy, one age 16 and another age 17 have come forward to police and discussed their encounter.


One of the girls stated that she "felt compelled to perform sexual acts for money, at the request of Vangundy, because he provided her with food, shelter, and a cell phone."


The other stated that Vangundy had been housing four runaways that he had met online in his apartment and had provided each of them with cell phones "so they could arrange sexual encounters with unknown men for money."


Police are still seeking the other two girls.


At the time of his arrest, Vangundy was booked on charges of child sex trafficking, transportation for child sex trafficking, illegal enterprise and money laundering.  His bond was set at $250,000.


On October 29 a grand jury officially indicted Vangundy for trafficking girls that had been reported as missing or as runaways between April and June.


In addition to the charges he was booked on, the grand jury saw fit to indict him on an additional charge of sexual conduct with a minor.


If you are the victim of human trafficking or if you suspect someone may be the victim of human traffickers, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).