News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Duluth man indicted for the sex trafficking of a child

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2013


MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed late today charges a 32-year-old Duluth man with the sex trafficking of a child for approximately seven months last year. The indictment, which was filed on May 7, 2013, charges Markeace Arque Canty with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a child, one count of sex trafficking of a child, and one count of receipt of child pornography. The indictment was unsealed following Canty’s initial appearance in federal court this afternoon.

The indictment alleges that from at least July 2012 through January 2013, Canty recruited, transported, and coerced the female victim, who was under the age of 18 at the time, to engage in commercial sex acts, from which Canty benefitted financially. Canty purportedly purchased “escort” advertisements on the website known as backpage.com and transported the female victim to locations in Duluth, Minneapolis, and elsewhere to meet advertisement responders at motels, where the victim engaged in sexual acts in exchange for money. Specifically, on September 12, 2012, law enforcement in Indiana responded to one of the advertisements and arrested the female victim after she reportedly agreed to perform sex acts in exchange for money. The advertisement in that instance purportedly included a phone number registered to Canty. The indictment also alleges that Canty attempted to arrange for the female victim’s release from jail after she was arrested on state prostitution charges.

As to the charge of receipt of child pornography, the indictment states that on January 15, 2013, Canty received visual depictions via a computer of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

If convicted, Canty faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on each of the sex trafficking counts and ten years on the charge of receipt of child pornography. Any sentences would be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Duluth Police Department, with cooperation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, the Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota, police departments, the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, police department, and the Porter County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.

In 2012, Yuri Fedotov, the head of the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime reported to those attending a U.N. General Assembly meeting that an estimated 2.4 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking at any one time, with 80 percent of them being exploited as sex slaves. He also stated that approximately $32 billion is earned collectively every year by the criminals who operate human trafficking networks. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked within the U.S. alone each year.

For more information, visit http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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