SAN DIEGO -
A San Diego man who made thousands of dollars forcing underage girls into prostitution using Internet ads was sentenced in federal court Monday to 12 years in prison.
Carlos Alberto Garcia, 20, pleaded guilty in August to sex trafficking of children.
The case began as a result of investigations by San Diego police vice detectives in November 2011 and January 2012.
Detectives searched online advertisements for escorts and discovered the underage girls working as prostitutes. Garcia was eventually identified as their pimp.
One of the girls, age 17, described Garcia as "ruthless" and "crazy" and said he physically assaulted her for hiding $300.
According to court documents, Garcia beat the girl, stripped her, forced her into a cold shower, poured ice on her, and made her stand in front of an air conditioner.
Garcia then took the girl to the Fashion Valley Mall and, using the money she'd earned from prostitution, bought himself $685 sneakers at the Gucci store, according to court records.
Authorities said human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, second only to drug trafficking on the list of the biggest and most lucrative illicit enterprises.
In the Southern District of California, which includes San Diego and Imperial counties, the U.S. Attorney's Office has seen a 600 percent increase in human trafficking cases in the last five years, mostly involving the sex trafficking of children.