GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (April 30, 2014) – A Grand Rapids man will spend at least ten years in prison for recruiting teenage girls to work for him as child prostitutes and having them solicit men for sex on city streets.
Eddie Allen Jackson, 31, was convicted on three counts of child sex trafficking after a two day trial in federal court this week.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Jackson recruited the victims in the Muskegon area, targeting eighth, ninth and tenth graders. He would then drive them back and forth to Grand Rapids where he would put them out on the street to solicit men for sex.
“This was the first child sex trafficking case to be prosecuted federally in Western Michigan,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles Jr. in a news release. “The local, state and federal authorities are committed to working together to locate and stop sex traffickers. Any type of child prostitution is of course a top priority in our district, and those who prey on children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Jackson faces a mandatory sentence of ten years to life in prison when he’s sentenced in September.
An FBI agent testified that the teenage victims in this case share qualities common for child sex trafficking victims, explaining Jackson targeted vulnerable girls with troubled backgrounds who are easy to manipulate and control because the ‘pimp’ fills a void in their lives.
The FBI agent says Jackson controlled his victims by making them feel like he loved and cared for them, interspersed with threats and violence.
Federal documents show Jackson was arrested in Tennessee prior to the case making its way through federal court in West Michigan.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says this case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse.