249: Masayo Halpin – Human Trafficking, Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Retired agent Masayo Halpin served in the FBI for twenty years. During her career, she was assigned to the Portland Division, where she worked white collar, domestic terrorism and cyber investigations. Primarily, for most of her time in the Bureau, she worked human trafficking cases on a Violent Crimes Squad.

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Masayo reviews the case of a 14-year-old girl trafficked through manipulation and daily beatings, and forced her into sex work.

Although initially reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement, Lucy (not her real name) stayed in contact with Masayo with and after five years was finally ready to testify against Tony Armstrong, aka “Priceless.”

Masayo served as the Crimes Against Children Coordinator and created the Portland Innocence Lost Task Force, now known as the Child Exploitation Task Force.

The task force was comprised of four local law enforcement agencies and the FBI. It investigated cases involving the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. The task force collaborated with the non-governmental organizations to focus on services for the victims of sex trafficking. Prior to joining the FBI, Masayo was an attorney in Philadelphia and she served as a legal advisor for the field office. She was also a member of the Hostage Negotiation Team and Evidence Response Team. She ended her career at the FBI as the Recruiter and working Community Outreach.

Masayo is beginning a new career as a community college instructor teaching courses on ethics and human trafficking. She is also working with an author on a memoir about her big undercover case and childhood events that played a role in her FBI career choices.

Special Agent (Retired)

Masayo Halpin

12/1997 – 12/2017









“Lucy said, ‘I’ll talk to you about the game. But I’m not gonna talk to you about my daddy, my trafficker. Because you snitch, you die.’”—Retired Agent Masayo Halpin

The following are articles about Masayo’s case, the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and human trafficking:

U.S. Attorney’s Office -District of Oregon – 12/52013: Portland Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 200 Months in Federal Prison

FBI.gov website: WHAT WE INVESTIGATE – Human Trafficking

Hope for Justice: National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

You can listen to other FBI Retired Case File Review episodes about crimes against children here.

“Lucy’s” trafficker used manipulation and frequent beatings to force her to “walk the track” to earn money for him.











During a search of a hotel room, Phoenix Police discovered explicit photos of “Lucy” later used as evidence against her trafficker.
Receipt for the hotel indicated the room was being used for prostitution.












This is the detention center where Agent Masayo Halpin met “Lucy” for the first time.










Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. AnniAugust 2, 2022

    Jerri. I am seething after hearing this story. Here’s why. I am so so so tired of never hearing that the johns never get arrested. Help me here. This keeps me up at night. Lucy ends up in jail; the dirty johns get off – In all ways a man can get off.

    1. Jerri WilliamsAugust 3, 2022

      I agree that the system needs changes. But don’t forget Lucy’s trafficker was tried and incarcerated for his crimes.


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