A Jacksonville man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $19,200 in restitution for his role in a scheme to force five women into prostitution.
Eric J. Thompson, 29, pleaded guilty in November to one count of interstate transportation for prostitution and one count of using an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise. Thompson was indicted on several charges in March 2016 after an investigation that involved the U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Raleigh Police Department.
According to prosecutors, Thompson made promises of money and fame to entice five women into prostitution in North and South Carolina, then used threats, abuse and isolation to compel them to continue prostituting for his profit. Prosecutors say he also filmed himself performing sex acts with the women and posted the videos online for sale without their consent.
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“Human trafficking is quite simply a form of modern-day slavery,” Nick Annan, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, said in a statement. “The threats and abuse inflicted on these particular victims only adds to the heinous nature of the crime.”
Another man, Dequann Ross, pleaded guilty to using an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise for his role in helping Thompson. He was sentenced in February to 30 months in prison.