LOS ANGELES — A Long Beach man who allegedly forced a 17-year-old girl to work as a prostitute has been named in a federal criminal complaint that charges him with child sex trafficking.
Ralph Allen Jackson Jr., 40, was arrested by Long Beach Police Department vice detectives last Tuesday night on state charges after they responded to a domestic disturbance call at his residence. Jackson was named in a criminal complaint filed late Friday in U.S. District Court.
Following Jackson’s arrest last Tuesday, vice detectives determined that the incident involved child sex trafficking and contacted special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). It is anticipated that Jackson, who is expected be turned over to federal authorities Tuesday, will make his initial appearance in federal court Tuesday afternoon.
The criminal complaint filed Friday charges Jackson with sex trafficking of children by force. If he is convicted, Jackson would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
"The sex trafficking of women and juveniles is a horrible offense that warrants an immediate and assertive response," said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. "The charges demonstrate that we are prepared to quickly respond to such cruel conduct. Together with our partners in law enforcement, such as the Long Beach Police Department, we will continue to pursue and prosecute anyone who engages in the vile exploitation of women or children."
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the teenage victim told investigators that she was introduced to Jackson in March and, following a series of phone calls and text messages, met him for dinner earlier this month. The girl told Jackson that she was 17, which allegedly prompted Jackson to tell her this would be their "secret."
The victim told investigators that Jackson subsequently forced her into prostitution, arranging for her to have sex with dozens of male clients and warning her that she would be beaten if she resisted. The affidavit states the victim was required to work the streets approximately 12 hours a day and was allowed only one daily meal.
"The actions of those who prey on the vulnerability of young women in our community and exploit them through threats and intimidation will not be tolerated," said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. "We will continue to join forces with our federal partners to ensure these individuals are being prosecuted to the fullest extent possible."
Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles, stated: "Forcing anyone, much less a child, to prostitute themselves from morning until night with no rest, little food and threats of physical harm is not only criminal – it is morally reprehensible. That what amounts to modern slavery occurs here in the 21st century is unconscionable. HSI is committed to ensuring that those involved are held accountable for their crimes."
According to the affidavit, in mid-June Jackson took the victim to a tattoo shop and ordered her to get a tattoo that included his street name: "Mac Wimp’s bitch." The victim told investigators that Jackson threatened to harm her if she did not comply.
After the teen victim fled Jackson’s residence about eight days ago, Jackson allegedly sent her text messages threatening to harm her family if she did not return. When the victim went to Jackson’s home last Tuesday to retrieve her things, there was an altercation, which prompted the domestic disturbance call to the Long Beach Police Department.
Authorities believe Jackson may have additional unidentified victims. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or submit information using HSI’s online tip form at http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.