Youth pastor, foster parents arrested for human trafficking in Florida

Officials say two Florida men have been arrested on human trafficking charges after they allegedly solicited sexual activity from minors on social media.

Moises Escoto, a 36-year-old youth pastor, and Joel Lutz, a 38-year-old registered foster parent, were arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said its human trafficking team launched an investigation after a mother reported finding disturbing content on her 16-year-old’s phone.

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Moises Escoto, a 36-year-old youth pastor, and Joel Lutz, a 38-year-old registered foster parent, were arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation.

Moises Escoto, a 36-year-old youth pastor, and Joel Lutz, a 38-year-old registered foster parent, were arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation. (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

Investigators found that Escoto had contacted the victim two years ago through a chat and meetup app called Sniffies. Since first contacting the teenager, Escoto has allegedly solicited sexually explicit pictures and videos in exchange for money and gifts.

Escoto also secretly met with the victim and engaged in sexual acts, investigators said. He was a youth pastor at the Iglesia de Cristo Misionera Mahanaim church. He was arrested on February 9th.

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The sheriff's office said its human trafficking team launched an investigation after a mother reported finding disturbing content on her 16-year-old's phone.

The sheriff’s office said its human trafficking team launched an investigation after a mother reported finding disturbing content on her 16-year-old’s phone. (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

During the investigation, deputies discovered that Lutz had engaged in sexual acts with a minor, who he also found on the Sniffies app, for money. Lutz was arrested at his place of work at the Outback Steakhouse on February 15.

“It is absolutely disgusting that these two men, placed in positions of mentorship and trust with children in our community, used online apps to seek out and bully our youth,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we know that predators are constantly on the prowl to ruin the innocence of our community. I urge parents to know where and what their children are doing online at all times. We will continue to look for these deviants wherever they may be, and we ask parents and the community to help us protect our precious children.”

Two Florida men have been arrested on human trafficking charges after they allegedly solicited sexual activity from minors on social media.

Two Florida men have been arrested on human trafficking charges after they allegedly solicited sexual activity from minors on social media. (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

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Escoto and Lutz will face trafficking charges for commercial sexual activity, lewd or lewd battery, use of any computer service or device to encourage certain illegal activities, traveling to meet a minor after using any computer service or device to encourage certain illegal activities , use of computer services for lewd or lecherous exhibition defendants over 18, transmission of harmful material to a minor, unlawful use of two-way communication devices, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and other charges.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/youth-pastor-foster-parent-arrested-human-trafficking-florida Youth pastor, foster parents arrested for human trafficking in Florida

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