Burlington-Area Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison | Off Message

Burlington-Area Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison


  • Burlington Police Department
  • Brian Folks
A man convicted last year of using opioids to coerce women into prostitution was sentenced on Monday to more than two decades in federal prison.

A jury previously found Brian Folks, 45, guilty of 13 felonies related to sex and drug rings that federal prosecutors said he operated in the Burlington area between 2012 and 2016.

Several women had testified that Folks exploited their opioid addictions to recruit them as prostitutes and drug runners. When they tried to quit, he humiliated them, withheld drugs, or used violent methods of control.

His three-week trial in May of last year was the first federal human-trafficking prosecution in Vermont to go before a jury.
He faced at least 15 years and up to life in prison. U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III sentenced Folks to a prison term of 22 years and six months, followed by 10 years of supervision, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release.

"This significant term of imprisonment reflects the inhumanity with which Folks treated his victims and the depravity of his conduct," U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan said in a statement.

Folks will also be required to pay restitution to his victims, at an amount still to be determined.

Kate O'Neill wrote about the allegations against Folks last year as part of Hooked, her award-winning Seven Days series on Vermont's opioid epidemic.