Friday, January 19, 2018

Milwaukee Man Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor

Defendant forced multiple young women and girls to engage in commercial sex and to perform at exotic dance clubs on Indian reservations in Northern Wisconsin

WASHINGTON – Paul Carter, 47, of Milwaukee was sentenced today to 21 years in prison, reduced by three years for time served, after pleading guilty on Oct. 6, 2017, to four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion and one count of conspiracy to commit forced labor and sex trafficking, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons.

According to documents filed in court and in connection with the defendant’s guilty plea, for over a decade, from 2001 to 2013, the defendant recruited young women and girls to dance at clubs using false promises of money and a better life. He then used a combination of physical violence, isolation, emotional manipulation, sexual assault, and threats to harm the victims’ families to exert control over the victims and compel them to engage in commercial sex acts.

For example, on one occasion, the defendant used a heated wire hanger to brand a “P” on a victim’s buttock to demonstrate his ownership of her. When he learned that another victim was considering leaving, he put the barrel of a gun in her mouth and threatened to “blow her head off.”

On another occasion, the defendant, believing that a victim had hidden money from him, responded by searching her genitals and then forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse with him. In another instance, the defendant required her to choose between two punishments: drowning or jumping out of a window. After the victim jumped out of the window and fell to the ground, the defendant kicked her several times in the head, threw the victim to the ground, and stepped on her head hard enough to break her teeth.

President Donald J. Trump recently announced January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which culminates on February 1, 2018 with the annual celebration of National Freedom Day. In February 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order, which directed the Attorney General to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, including those involved in human trafficking.

“Combatting sex trafficking—a heinous crime that often times preys on the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society—is one of the highest priorities of the Justice Department,” said Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. “We will continue to work tirelessly to vindicate the civil rights of victims of human trafficking.”

“Sex traffickers target and prey upon some of the most vulnerable members of our society, threatening victims and subjecting them to extraordinary levels of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin. “Sex traffickers use violence not only to coerce victims into engaging in commercial sex acts, but also as a way to keep victims from cooperating with trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The United States Attorney’s Office remains committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to vindicate the rights of sex trafficking victims and to protect citizens from these violent and predatory offenses.”

“This case is an example of the ruthlessness of human traffickers who are willing to do anything, including victimizing women and girls, to make money,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons. “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and HSI will continue to collaborate with community partners to bring justice to those impacted by this terrible crime.”

Two of Carter’s co-defendants previously pleaded guilty. Defendant David Moore pleaded guilty on October 27, 2015, to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and trafficking with respect to forced labor.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 30, 2018.  Defendant Najee Moore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and use of an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise on June 9, 2014, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on December 22, 2016. 

This prosecution is the result of the joint investigation by the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s Human Trafficking Task Force and cooperative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Milwaukee Police Department, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karine Moreno-Taxman and Laura Kwaterski of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorney Vasantha Rao of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

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