GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 1, 2014)– A man from Grand Rapids is convicted of prostituting teenage girls from the Muskegon area, putting them on the streets in Grand Rapids to solicit men for sex.
Federal court documents say Eddie Allen Jackson brought the girls to the America’s Best Inn on 28th Street in Grand Rapids to have sex with customers, using his own name and driver’s license to check in.
Federal investigators said that Jackson used a combination of perceived affection, violence and alcohol, marijuana, tattoos and money to lure the girls into prostituting on and near Divison Avenue.
Two of the victims, just 16 and 15 years old, were reportedly best friends that planned on attending the same Muskegon school together.
The third victim mentioned in the case was a 14-year-old runaway.
“Trafficking is slavery. It’s this century’s version of slavery,” said Rebecca McDonald, the founder of Women At Risk International of Grand Rapids. “Grand Rapids, Michigan I is the second highest city in MI for 911 trafficking calls after Detroit,” said McDonald.
In this case, documents indicated that Jackson would recruit the teens, then they would recruit others.
If they tried to get out, there was violence.
Federal court documents say, “Minor # 1 saw Jackson punch in the face the young woman who recruited her.”
It says, “she was trying to rescue Minor #1 from the street when Jackson punched her because she was messing with his ‘money’.”
Investigators went on to say, “Another time, Jackson flashed a handgun at Minor #1 and was angry with her for taking too long with customers.”
They say, “Minor #2 met Jackson when she was a 14-year-old runaway. She was on the street in Muskegon when Jackson recruited her into prostitution as a way to make some money.”
Investigators reported that, “Jackson drover her in the Ford Explorer from Muskegon to Grand Rapids on several occasions during the summer of 2012.”
Federal documents went on to say, “As he did with other women and minors who worked for him, Jackson bought condoms for her to use with customers, provided her with a place to stay at the America’s Best Inn, and sometimes had sex with her,” said federal investigators. “One time, he punched her in the torso for not doing what he told her to do.”
The runaway teen was eventually arrested by an undercover Grand Rapids officer on the Division Avenue strip while Jackson allegedly watched from his supervisory position.
Investigators said the 16-year-old was also spotted on Division, dressed as a prostitute, by her aunt who immediately called the teen’s mother.
Court records indicate that the woman tried to get her niece away from Jackson, but he became aggressive allegedly acting as if he had a gun.
Investigators said the young girl testified that she became scared and retreated with Jackson.
McDonald said this crime is something that West Michigan needs to be aware of to protect our children.
“You sell 100 lbs of drugs there are results and consequences if you get caught,” said McDonald. “But, you sell a 100 lb child over and over and over and over again and there are very few consequences.”
Court documents state that Jackson faces 10 years to life in prison for the crimes of sex trafficking.
He is scheduled for sentencing in September.