JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Three Jackson citizens, previously arrested following an investigation regarding a missing 15-year-old, pleaded guilty to human trafficking.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Mississippi, Edward Deshawn Williams, 29, and Christopher Griffin, 30, pleaded guilty Friday, and 27-year-old Charmaine Turner pleaded guilty Tuesday for their roles in a human trafficking operation.
“Criminals who do such evil things to children for money will be pursued, caught and punished with all the resources that this office and the U.S. Department of Justice and our partners can bring to bear. We are redoubling our efforts in this area and intend to do whatever it takes to eliminate this heinous crime from our communities. I am extremely thankful to our prosecutors, the FBI, and our state and local law enforcement and nonprofit partners who work with us to rescue these victims and put away these criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
Williams pled guilty to one count of sex trafficking a minor, and one count of advertisement and promoting prostitution via the Internet. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Griffin pled guilty to one count of advertisement and promoting prostitution via the Internet. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Turner pled guilty to two counts of advertisement and promoting prostitution. She faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
In April 2019, officials began investigating advertisements and posting of advertisements on the Internet promoting commercial sex acts with younger-looking females in and around Jackson. The investigation led to the arrest of Williams, Turner, and Griffin for promoting prostitution of a 15- year-old runaway female engaging in the commercial sex acts with men for money. Williams knew the 15-year-old would be engaged in commercial sex acts with men for money from the ads posted via the Internet. Williams rented rooms at local hotels for the minor in Jackson for days at a time. Williams kept most, if not all, of the money earned by the minor from the sex acts. Griffin introduced the minor victim to Williams, who in turn took the 15-year-old to Turner for work in the commercial sex trafficking trade.U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Mississippi
All three defendants will be sentenced on April 10, 2020