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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 26, 2021

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Sex Trafficking Charge Defendant Coerced and Sexually Exploited Three Women in Northwest Washington

Defendant Coerced and Sexually Exploited Three Women in Northwest Washington

            WASHINGTON – Michael Jabaar Wilkins, 38, of Norfolk, Va., has pleaded guilty to a federal sex trafficking charge stemming from his sexual exploitation of three women – sometimes using violence - between 2011 and 2019 for his own financial gain.

            The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Wilkins pleaded guilty on July 21, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to a charge of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. Wilkins remains detained pending his sentencing on Dec. 2, 2021, by the Honorable Rudolph Contreras.

            According to the government’s evidence, over the course of a decade, Wilkins separately induced and coerced the women to travel from Virginia to the District of Columbia to engage in commercial sex acts for his own financial benefit. He took sexually explicit photographs of two of the women that he used in online advertisements for commercial sex. The activities took place in the 1300 block of 12th Street NW and other locations in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Northwest Washington. According to the evidence, Wilkins physically assaulted two of the women, knocking one of them unconscious in one confrontation.

            Wilkins was arrested on Nov. 5, 2019, following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which is composed of FBI agents and local, state, and federal partners. He has been detained ever since. He pleaded guilty less than a week before his trial was scheduled to begin.

          In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Acting Special Agent in Charge Bornstein, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI and MPD. also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Trial Attorney Jessica Arco of the Justice Department’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. They acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Kenny Nguyen and Alexis Spencer-Anderson, Victim Witness Program Specialist Yvonne Bryant, Victim Witness Service Coordinator Tonya Jones, and Witness Security Specialist Lesley Slade. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy E. Larson and Janani Iyengar, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

 

Updated July 26, 2021