PEORIA, Ill. – A Normal, Illinois man, Jahquan Howard, 29, of the 1100 block of Wartburg Drive, was sentenced on July 21, 2022, to 120 months imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release for sex trafficking of a minor. Howard must also register as a sex offender.
At the sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid, the government presented evidence that in April 2019, Howard trafficked a minor girl into prostitution. Howard rented hotel rooms in the Peoria area, transported the girl to the hotels, and gave her controlled substances. He used online advertisements to solicit men to the hotel rooms to have sex with the girl and then collected payment for the act.
“Sex trafficking is modern day slavery” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “Sex trafficking is particularly harmful when it involves minor children as in this case. There is zero tolerance for sex traffickers in the Central District of Illinois and we will work tirelessly to bring these predators to justice.”
“The FBI and our law enforcement partners work every day to shut down sex traffickers and deliver justice for victims,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge Shannon Fontenot. “While this sentence effectively ends Jahquan Howard’s ability to sexually exploit children, the damage caused by this crime can linger for a lifetime for the victim. The FBI remains constant in our commitment to provide resources for victims to assist in the healing process.”
Howard was indicted in February 2020 and entered a guilty plea in April 2022. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The statutory penalties for sex trafficking a minor are 10 years to life imprisonment, followed by 5 years to life of supervised release. A fine of up to $250,000 may also be imposed.
The Bloomington Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office investigated the case with assistance of the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Hollingshead-Cook represented the government in the prosecution.
The case against Howard was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov