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Press Release

Trafficker Who Brutally Assaulted Victims Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

A DeSoto man who sex trafficked women for more than a decade was sentenced last week to 30 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.

Phillip Jay Curlett, 34, was indicted in October 2023 and pleaded guilty later that month to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking through force, fraud, and coercion. He was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman.

“Human trafficking is one of the most egregious crimes the HSI investigates,” said Homeland Security Investigations Dallas Special Agent in Charge Lester R. Hayes Jr. “HSI’s role is simple; we will find and prosecute those who force victims into this degrading and inhumane lifestyle.”

According to court documents, Mr. Curlett trafficked multiple women, brutally beating several.

According to court documents, one victim told investigators that when she first met Mr. Curlett, he gave her a fake name and asked her to spend the night with him. Believing they were embarking upon a dating relationship, she consented.

He then drove her to a local motel and ordered her to “go to work.” That same night, she saw her first two commercial sex customers.

Mr. Curlett went on to advertise the victim’s commercial sex services online and forced her to tun her proceeds over to him, threatening to hurt her if she did not make enough money for him. He forced her to use methamphetamine so that she could stay awake to maximize profits, and assaulted her on multiple occasions, including after she tried to leave.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the North Texas Trafficking Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandie Wade prosecuted the case. 


Erin Dooley
Press Officer

Updated February 23, 2024

Human Trafficking