News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Man sentenced for sex trafficking of a minor, conspiring to produce child pornography

March 22, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 40-year-old man was sentenced for running a prostitution operation in the Twin Cities that exploited underage and young women. United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Arthur James Chappell, no known address, to 336 months in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, on two counts of sex trafficking a minor, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of conspiracy to possess child pornography, one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography, two counts of enticing travel for prostitution, two counts of transportation with intent to engage in prostitution, one count of conspiracy to entice travel for prostitution, and one count of conspiracy to transport with intent to engage in prostitution. Chappell, also known as AJ and J, was indicted on April 4, 2012, and was convicted on October 24, 2012, following trial.

After today’s sentencing, Michael Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“ICE HSI”) St. Paul Field Office, said, “This sentence is the result of the great partnership ICE HSI has with the Bloomington Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (“BCA”). Sex trafficking is an unmerciful crime, but because human trafficking is so widespread, no one entity can adequately address the problems it presents. Law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota are committed to giving victims the help they need to come forward and help us end this terrible crime.”

The evidence presented at trial proved that from August 2006 through July 2007, Chappell ran a multi-state prostitution ring. In the summer of 2007, he recruited two girls under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex acts as part of his business. In addition, Chappell possessed one or more items containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, conspired with others to possess such depictions, and induced or coerced a child to engage in conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. In July 2007, Chappell also enticed or coerced two adult females to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution. Between August of 2006 and July of 2007, he conspired to persuade other women to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Bloomington Police Department, the BCA, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin P. Johnson.

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 said approximately $32 billion is earned collectively every year by the criminals who operate human trafficking networks. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked within the U.S. alone each year.

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