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Press Release

Milwaukee Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking and Related Crimes

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Paul Carter, 46, of Milwaukee, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Wisconsin late yesterday to eight counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion and one count of conspiracy to commit forced labor and sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.

According to documents filed in court, from 2001 to 2013, the defendant used false promises of good earnings and a better life to recruit women and girls to dance at exotic dance clubs on Indian reservations in Northern Wisconsin.  Carter then used a combination of physical violence, isolation, emotional manipulation, sexual assault and threats to harm the victims’ families to exert control over the victims and compel them to engage in commercial sex acts in Milwaukee, Northern Wisconsin and elsewhere for his profit.

According to the plea agreement, when Carter became angry at one victim for associating with another man, he used a heated wire hanger to brand a “P” on her buttock to demonstrate his ownership of her.  Carter also admitted that when he heard another victim was considering leaving him, he put the barrel of a gun in her mouth and threatened to “blow her head off.”  On another occasion described in plea documents, Carter, believing that a victim had hidden money from him, responded by searching her genitals and then forcing her to engage in sexual intercourse with him.  As further admitted in plea documents, on another occasion Carter threw a victim to the ground and stepped on her head hard enough to break her tooth, and also required her to choose between two additional punishments: drowning or jumping out of a window. 

“The repulsive crime of human trafficking offends the most basic standards of human decency and dignity,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Civil Rights Division will vigorously and relentlessly prosecute those who prey upon, abuse and exploit vulnerable members of our society for their own financial benefit.  And while no punishment can undo the egregious harms inflicted, we will work tirelessly to seek justice on behalf of victims and survivors of human trafficking.”

“Paul Carter preyed on women and children who found themselves in desperate situations; some were homeless, others had no one to turn to, and yet others had no money to survive,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  “He used violence, fear, isolation and coercion to make the victims commit commercial sex acts for his financial benefit.  The Department of Justice, working with the Federal Human Trafficking Task Force, has been dedicated to investigating and prosecuting human traffickers so that victims can be free from this modern-day slavery.  This prosecution reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to protecting those who are most vulnerable and to prosecuting those who are responsible.”

Carter was charged in a superseding indictment returned on Oct. 12, 2016, and faces a possible sentence of 15 years to life in prison.  The sentencing is scheduled for March 15, 2017.  As part of the plea agreement, Carter will also be ordered to pay restitution to each of the seven victims identified in the indictment, in an amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.

This prosecution is the result of the joint investigation by the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s Human Trafficking Task Force and cooperative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Milwaukee Police Department, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karine Moreno-Taxman and Laura Kwaterski of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorney Vasantha Rao of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Updated November 22, 2016

Civil Rights
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-1375