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Rochester advocate against sex trafficking reacts to R. Kelly guilty verdict

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- "This sets up an example. We need to keep prosecuting people who are perpetrators of this because otherwise, it will just go on and on," said Sister Marlys Jax, of the Sisters of Saint Francis Assisi Heights.

Jax and the rest of the world heard about singer R. Kelly's guilty verdict on Monday afternoon.

"When I heard that he was convicted, I thought, well this is one way in which we can hold people accountable. And that's what has to happen in cases like this," Jax said.

Kelly was found guilty by a federal jury of seven men and five women Monday on Racketeering and Sex Trafficking charges.

For decades women have accused Kelly of sexual abuse, and 11 women testified in court that he abused them.

"When the demand is there and they provide the supply of more sexual misuse. It will just continue. It will just get worse. And I think it's one of the largest manifestations of slavery today, of keeping women down," Jax said.

The Minnesota Attorney General's office says the average age for sex trafficking is 13 years old. Many victims are homeless youth.

"One of the things is to be aware of how a person is being groomed. They look for people who are unaccompanied or people who are in need, or lonely and they are always scouting in public places," Jax said.

She said offenders could be strangers or someone the victim knows.

"The coercion happens after that and they are forced into doing things and saying things that they don't necessarily or wouldn't ordinarily do," Jax said.

R. Kelly could spend decades in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for May 2022.

To learn more or to report a suspected trafficking case call 1-888-373-7888 for the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline.

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KaMaria Braye

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