BOISE -- A sentencing in an Ada County courtroom today was just the tip of the iceberg into a bigger problem in Boise -- prostitution.
Judge Lynn Norton sentenced Gypsie Akers to 15 years in prison for her role in a prostitution and human trafficking ring. Four of those years are fixed, with her getting credit for about a year already served behind bars.
Akers and co-defendant Derrick Hicklen were both charged in this case. Like Akers, Hicklen agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.
Akers was initially charged with prostitution, rape, human trafficking and video voyeurism. However, she pleaded guilty to reduced charges of procurement of prostitution and receiving funds from procurement.
Police say Akers and Hicklen forced at least a dozen women into prostitution who then performed sexual acts at hotels around the Boise Airport.
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman says prostitution is rampant in Boise.
You need only go on Craigslist or Backpage to see that it's happening and in this case, the women who were put on Backpage wouldn't have done it on their own, Guzman told the court.
During Akers' sentencing hearing, Judge Norton pointed out what great things Akers did on her own, but she still led a life of crime.
You used what could have been good for your family, for the bad for your family, and even the worst for the community, said Norton.
When asked if Akers had anything to say in court, she asked the judge to consider her children, but the judge said Akers' crimes required a strict punishment.
When I look at the seriousness of this crime, and it's effect on our community and it's particular effects on the victims of this particular crime, this is not a case befitting of simply returning you to the community, said judge Lynn Norton.
As for Hicklen, prosecutors tell us he too pleaded guilty to reduced charges like Akers. Despite authorities believing he was the ring leader, Hicklen will likely get less time in prison. The reason - Guzman says some of the witnesses are not around and won't be able to testify against him.
Hicklen is scheduled to be back in court later this month for sentencing.
Another thing that came out in court today was the use of methamphetamine. The victims and Akers all had addictions to the drug at some time or another, and is some instances, they were paid with meth.