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'Soulless, cold-hearted' sex trafficker gets 11 years in prison

A young woman victimized by a sex trafficker called her abuser "a soulless, cold-hearted, evil person" during a court hearing Tuesday in which he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

"You are a monster," the woman said of Derek Harris, 23, of Buffalo. "I will forever have flashbacks of what took place in that hotel room. You treated me like a dog. Not only did you physically and sexually abuse me, you verbally abused me, too. I thought I was going to die – all that was going through my head at that time was to survive."

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns also ordered five years post-release supervision.

Harris previously pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking and two counts of promoting prostitution.

Prosecutors said Harris forced young women, the youngest 14 years old and others in their teens, into a sex trafficking operation that he ran out of the Boulevard Inn Motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Haggerty previously said that in addition to the female victims, prosecutors also had several of Harris' customers come forward and give statements.

Harris briefly apologized to the young women he victimized and said he hoped they could recover from what he did to them, adding that his criminal behavior did not reflect how his family raised him.

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