Jacksonville, Florida – Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return by a grand jury of two indictments charging individuals in Jacksonville, Florida with human trafficking offenses. The first indictment charges Clive Sephas Nelson (23, Jacksonville) with the commercial sex trafficking of a minor female, between on or about November 29, 2013 through on or about December 15, 2013, in the Middle District of Florida. Nelson was indicted on January 15, 2014. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The second alleges that, between in or about December 2012 through on or about May 31, 2013, in the Middle District of Florida, Erick George Brooks (29, Jacksonville) committed commercial sex trafficking of an adult female through force, threats of force, fraud, and coercion. The indictment against Brooks was returned on November 14, 2013. He was arrested on December 4, 2013 and is awaiting a trial, currently scheduled for February 3, 2014. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
Both cases resulted from investigations conducted by a joint human trafficking task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Both offenses are charged under the Federal Human Trafficking Statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1591, part of the Trafficking and Violence Protection Act passed by the United States Congress, in 2000.
On December 31, 2013, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring the month of January 2014 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In that proclamation, the President noted, “As we work to dismantle trafficking networks and help survivors rebuild their lives, we must also address the underlying forces that push so many into bondage. We must develop economies that create legitimate jobs, build a global sense of justice that says no child should ever be exploited, and empower our daughters and sons with the same chances to pursue their dreams.”
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
These cases were investigated by the FBI and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. They will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III.