News and Press Releases

Couple Indicted for Sex Trafficking of a Juvenile

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2013

Defendants Allegedly Ran Their Operation from a Buckhead Home

ATLANTA - Steven E. Thompson and Tierra Michelle Waters have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of sex trafficking of a juvenile and conspiring to do the same.

“These defendants preyed on a young girl in need requiring her to have sex with men if she wanted to keep a roof over her head,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “Trafficking children is appalling and unacceptable.  With the help of our partners in the community, we will press on with efforts to reach those who are being exploited, and prosecute those who choose to engage in this inhumane practice.”

“Forced prostitution, especially in the case of children, is a crime that leaves scars long after any physical wounds have healed,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “Thanks to the hard work of HSI special agents, investigators from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, these defendants will be held accountable for their actions before the law.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  Thompson, 42, and Waters, 30, both of Atlanta, Ga., offered the young girl a place to stay at Thompson’s condominium in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.  After the young girl moved in, she was told that she had to earn money for rent, and that she would be required to engage in prostitution.  Thompson and Waters placed advertisements describing the juvenile on Backpage.com, soliciting men to have sex with the young girl either at the condominium or at a place the customer chose.  Some advertisements falsely listed the juvenile as “Sasha” age 19, when in fact she was 17.  Other advertisements showed both Waters and the juvenile, under the name “Naomi”, age 20, requesting a “donation” of $150 an hour. Thompson and Waters also provided marijuana to the juvenile before she had to perform commercial sex acts. 

The indictment charges two counts, one substantive count of sex trafficking of a juvenile by force, fraud or coercion and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. The victim is identified in the indictment by her initials.  Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.  Thompson is scheduled for a bond hearing on May 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker.  Waters is scheduled for arraignment on May 31, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman.    

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Coppedge and Leslie Abrams are prosecuting the case.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

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