WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WWLP) – A Rhode Island man was sentenced for trafficking multiple victims to engage in prostitution across seven states on Thursday.

According to the Department of Justice, 48-year-old Ronald Hall of Woonsocket was sentenced to 18 years in prison and five years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwanui. On August, 9 Hall pleaded guilty to four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion and one count of transportation of an individual with the intent to engage in prostitution.

From 2010 through late 2019, Hall used force, threats, and pressure to traffic five victims in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Nevada, to engage in prostitution. Hall targeted several of victims who suffered from substance use disorder and used their drug addictions to force them into engaging in commercial sex in exchange for drugs.

Hall scheduled the victims to engage in prostitution, sometimes multiple times per day, every day of the week, and used most of the proceeds for himself. Hall punished the victims who did not meet the quotas he set for them by not giving them drugs or through violence. To maintain control, Hall put his victims through starvation, regular threats of injury, physical abuse, forced intercourse, and violent assaults with weapons such as knives, belts, and bats, and made some victims brand themselves with a tattoo of his nickname.

“Mr. Hall is a predator driven by high profits and low risks. He targeted and exploited five vulnerable victims with substance use disorder – utilizing addiction and false promises of good earnings for recruitment – and then used extreme violence, threats, and isolation to create a climate of fear from which he could maintain control and exploit them for his own profit,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “As the chief federal law enforcement officer in our Commonwealth, I’ve made combating this modern form of slavery one of my top priorities. Although nothing will ever erase the profound pain and trauma these victims have suffered as a result of a near-decade of exploitation and abuse from Mr. Hall, we hope this sentencing brings some long-awaited justice and accountability.”

“This sentence is a victory for justice and for the trafficked victims of Mr. Hall who were ruthlessly exploited for criminal purposes and profit,” said Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England. “We hope that this sentence can serve as some form of closure to allow Hall’s victims to begin to recover their lives from the devastation that he inflicted on them. We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney for her commitment to prosecuting human trafficking cases and to the Massachusetts State Police. whose help in this investigation was invaluable.”