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Human trafficking and child exploitation suspect arrested in SLC

A Salt Lake City man is under arrest for child exploitation and human trafficking. Photo: Canva

(Content mentions violence against children)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City man is under arrest for suspicion of human trafficking and child exploitation.

According to the Utah Attorney General’s office, ICAC agents and the SECURE Task Force served multiple search warrants on Jesse Neal Knight on Wednesday, Oct. 13. 

The arrest followed a report to the Utah AG’s office in early September 2021. At that time, investigators from the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force interviewed two teenaged girls and their parents. ICAC then issued warrants to social media and payment companies for information about the suspect.

The information obtained from social media companies showed that Knight used social media to solicit the young girls’ photos. Police documents indicate that Knight paid one of the teenagers more money for explicit photos of a toddler. 

Police documents also said that Knight offered to pay over 200 underaged girls for nude photos. 

Knight was booked on multiple counts of human trafficking of a child, a first-degree felony. He also faces charges of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and multiple other counts of  2nd- and 3rd-degree felonies.

Human trafficking suspect accused of receiving explicit photos

The suspect admitted to some of the charges according to police documents.  Knight confirmed that he reached out to underaged girls on Snapchat and other social media outlets. In those communications, he said he solicited naked photos and videos. He said that he asked for and received explicit photos of children as young as 3 years old.

“Knight admitted to paying in excess of $30,000 over the last three years for these photos and videos,” said the Utah Attorney General’s Office in a statement.

“Knight also admitted to paying for naked photos as recently as the day he was contacted by Agents with the Utah Attorney General’s Office (Oct 13th, 2021).”

Many of the victims who were solicited and exploited are believed to remain unidentified. The Attorney general’s office urges anyone with information to please call 801-281-1200 and ask for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

 

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