The guilty verdicts resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in cooperation with the FBI, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office, the Sioux Falls Police Department and the Franklin County (Illinois) Police Department.
Carl Campbell, 37, was found guilty on five separate counts including: one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; one count of interstate transportation for prostitution; one count of obstruction of sex trafficking enforcement; and, two counts of sex trafficking a child. The verdicts followed a weeklong federal jury trial in Sioux Falls.
"Few crimes strike at our community the way sex trafficking does," said Michael Feinberg, special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul, which oversees South Dakota. "The sexual exploitation of children and young adults for financial gain demonstrates the extreme greed and depravity of sex traffickers. Our HSI special agents relentlessly pursue sexual predators to rescue their victims."
The federal jury convicted Campbell after hearing evidence that he lured adults and minors, and caused them to engage in commercial sex acts in and around Sioux Falls. He assaulted one victim repeatedly over the course of about eight months in which he forced her to perform commercial sex acts in South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. The two convictions for sex trafficking a child each carry a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. The remaining two counts involving interstate transportation and obstruction each carry maximum prison terms of up to 20 years.
"This defendant has been brought to justice for his role in the sexual enslavement of young women," said Brendon Johnson, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. "The verdicts send a strong message, if you engage in the heinous act of sex trafficking in South Dakota we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."
Sentencing has been set for April 29. Campbell has been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.