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Press Release

Wisconsin Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking a Woman and a Minor Online

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Wisconsin man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release after pleading guilty in November 2023 to two counts of sex trafficking.

According to court documents, Austin Koeckeritz, 30, of River Falls, pleaded guilty to compelling a young woman to perform commercial sex acts online, and also sex trafficking a minor.

“Sex traffickers exploit vulnerable victims for profit and, increasingly, this practice includes commercial sex activity online,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This should send a clear message – sex traffickers who try to hide behind computer screen screens and exploit victims online will be exposed and held accountable. The Justice Department remains committed to prosecuting human trafficking offenses, no matter the form, and standing up for the children and adult survivors targeted by these abusers.”

“My office will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to hold human traffickers accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea for the Western District of Wisconsin. “Sex trafficking and forced prostitution are terrible crimes and our priority is to restore freedom and dignity to the victims.”

“The women and men of the FBI work tirelessly to combat sex trafficking in communities across Wisconsin to stop individuals like Koeckeritz from exploiting and harming innocent victims,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Hensle of the FBI Milwaukee Field Office. “Human trafficking has lifelong impacts on those affected. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, is dedicated to bringing these individuals to justice.”

According to court documents, Koeckeritz used violence, threats of violence, emotional manipulation, isolation and surveillance to recruit and then compel one adult victim into engaging in online commercial sex acts in the River Falls area between August 2020 and August 2022. Beginning in January 2021, the adult victim was forced to perform the commercial sex acts between eight and 12 hours a day, six days a week, for over 18 months. He also caused a minor victim to engage in commercial sex acts between October 2021 and January 2022.

The FBI Milwaukee Field Office and River Falls Police Department investigated the case, with assistance from the Pierce County District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor Kraus for the Western District of Wisconsin and Trial Attorneys Slava Kuperstein and Julie Pluger of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.

Anyone who has information about human trafficking should report that information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about human trafficking, please visit Information on the Justice Department’s efforts to combat human trafficking can be found at

Updated April 11, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-436