When a person hears the term human trafficking, many things can come to the front of their mind. Cinematic films like Taken, people living in cages and being sold for sex daily, and even for some, the covert underground operation of a large-scale human trafficking ring run by wealthy powerful elites. While yes, movies like Taken are not stories we hear of often, it could be possible. There are documented cases of women having been forced to live in cages and being sold for sex. And sadly, we do know, there are powerful, wealthy elites who have indulged and partaken in criminal sexual acts against minors.
At the top of that list are names we all know from the news and media. Jeffery Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, the now, defuncted, Royal Prince Andrew, the third child to the late Queen Elizabeth, what gets more wealthy and powerful, than that? While those names and stories are intriguing and telling, they don’t paint the picture of what human trafficking can look like for some.
One man, a human trafficker, single-handedly connected to a network of pedophiles, used force, fraud, and coercion to lure at least 3 known minor victims to perform commercial sexual acts through a massage parlor business he ran out of his home. This trafficker used manipulation and mental phycological warfare against his victims by discovering their vulnerabilities, ones which he navigated toward. He had developed a connection with the young adolescent males, who were struggling with their sexual identity. This criminal used a unique set of skills crafted over years of torture and abuse inflicted on his victims. Until a fatal error in judgment on his part, and the gut feeling of border agents in the UK, would bring this man down in July of 2012.
What unfolded over the following six years would become one of the biggest human trafficking stories and convictions seen here in Texas. With setbacks and errors which occurred because of the lack of knowledge and understanding on the police department's behalf when it came to dealing with human trafficking cases, especially one which involved minor males, there were many lessons to be learned.
Fortunately, in this case, good prevailed over evil and the victims were able to seek justice despite all of the setbacks they faced.
Jason Daniel Gandy was convicted by a federal jury in Houston Texas July 23, 2018, on four counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of transportation of minors for commercial sexual acts, one count of sexual exploitation of a child, and one count of transportation of child exploitation content. After only a four-day trial and 3 hours of deliberation, the jury produced a guilty verdict to the court, ending this fight just days shy from when it had begun.
The investigation into Gandy started when he and the minor companion he was traveling with, 'Brian' were denied entry by immigration officers from the United Kingdom Border Force at London Heathrow airport in July 2012.
Gandy and Brian who were traveling under the guise of attending the London Olympic Games, fell under suspicion after UK Boarder Agents began to feel something was off when Gandy told officials the pair were traveling to see the Olympic Games but had not yet purchased tickets or hotel accommodations. Officials separated Gandy and Brian who gave agents inconsistent responses as to the status of their relationship which prompted the UK board agents to contact US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations Unit (HSI). Both Gandy and Brian were then denied entry into England and returned to the United States on separate flights where they were both greeted by HSI agents and interviewed.
During these interviews with HSI agents, Brian began to tell a grim story of Gandy and the life he forced Brian into. HSI Special Agent (SA) Juanae Johnson, with the help of Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Sherri Zack, secured a criminal complaint against Gandy in the Southern District of Texas. And on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 Gandy was formally charged with transporting a minor for commercial sex acts and held without bond as a flight risk and danger to the community. Search warrants were executed at Gandy's residence, which included a multiroom rental property in Houston, a massage room that was attached to the home, and his RV
Gandy's laptop which was still with Brian when he arrived back in the US was seized by agents and run through a forensic diagnostic. Brian told investigators at that time how Gandy used the laptop to watch child exploitation videos and material, used it to run the website and massage business, and that he would take photos of him that were uploaded to the laptop.
Through the forensic analysis of the laptop, federal agents were able to corroborate Brian's statements, and also discovered additional explicit child exploitation images of Brian, alone and with Gandy, other children with Gandy, and sadly they found images of Gandy and his travels throughout Southeast Asia and the minor males he saw during that trip, specifically Philippines and Bali, Indonesia.
5 months after his trial and conviction, On December 18, 2018, Gandy, who had remained in state custody since his original arrest in 2012, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal to 360 months, 30 years, in federal prison. Following his release from prison Gandy will be on a lifetime supervised parol, he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet and will be required to register as a sex offender.