BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A federal judge sentenced a woman to 25 years in prison this week for sex trafficking minors, United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona announced.

Marlette Laishell “Lala” Smith, 29, of Rome, Georgia, received a sentence of 300 months in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, from U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala. 

On March 23, Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. 

According to court records, Smith recruited two underage girls, ages 15 and 16, into prostitution for her own financial benefit. 

Smith met the two girls at a Motel 6 in Memphis, Tennessee, where they were stranded and trying to get back home to California. The girls had no money, no place to stay, no mode of transportation, no clothes other than what they were wearing and one uncharged cell phone. 

Smith told the girls that if they came with her to Alabama, they could each make $200. She also said she would help them get back to California

Smith then took the girls first to Georgia, then Birmingham where she sexually trafficked them.

The FBI Birmingham’s Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force (CEHTTF) investigated the case along with the Homewood Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Leann White and Darius Greene prosecuted the case.