A 29-year-old U.S. Army reservist was convicted of sex trafficking.
According to the evidence presented during the three-day trial by three of the four victims, the perpetrator operated an extensive sex trafficking business in the Charlotte, North Carolina area between 2012 and 2017, except for a brief time when he was deployed overseas.
The former reservist recruited all four complainants, young women, one of whom is a teenager. All of the women were struggling drug addicts. He promised to provide them with a house, car, and other material possessions, as well as the drugs to feed their addictions. Then, he advertised them on Backpage.com for prostitution and collected payment for his own profit.
He controlled the women's supply of drugs, such as hydrocodone pills and heroin. Without drugs, the victims experience debilitating physical and mental pain and withdrawal symptoms. The perpetrator would withhold their drugs until after they completed having sex with his customers. He would also withhold the drugs as punishment if they did not turn over all the money that they earned from prostitution or if they violated his rules.
Evidence presented also showed that the victims were physically abused at certain times. One victim was choked on several occasions and the others were punched and slapped. One victim was struck in the face with a pistol, which resulted to her nose being broken.
After seven hours of deliberation, the federal jury found the defendant guilty of seven out of nine counts contained in the indictment. Each sex trafficking charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum life sentence. "U.S. Army Reservist, Who Exploited Opioid Addictions of Young Women, Convicted of Sex Trafficking and Related Overseas" www.justice.gov (Oct. 12, 2018).