MIAMI, FL - Willie Dishon Matthew Obadiah, 32, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom to 235 months in prison today for sex trafficking a minor.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Juan J. Perez, Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) made the announcement.
According to the court record, including the factual proffer in support of the defendant’s guilty plea, in February 2019, Obadiah met the minor victim through Facebook, and communicated with her via Facebook Messenger and text messages. At the time, both Obadiah and the minor victim lived in North Carolina, where he was already prostituting women. Through his communications with the victim, Obadiah learned that she was a minor. In fact, he asked her to send a photograph of her identification card to him. When he saw her age on the photograph, he sent her a message stating that he wished she had a “fake id” instead. Obadiah continued to communicate with the minor victim online, and learned that she was a runaway. While she was on the run, Obadiah agreed to pick up the minor victim. Shortly thereafter, he began prostituting the minor victim at various hotels, initially in North Carolina and then in Miami. Obadiah told the minor victim how much to charge for sex acts, how to deal with customers or “johns,” and what rules to abide by. Obadiah posted advertisements online for the minor victim, to which customers responded. Obadiah drove the minor victim to South Florida after a few days, where he prostituted her at hotels in Miami. The minor victim ran away from Obadiah, who returned to North Carolina, where he continued to prostitute women. He was arrested on April 19, 2019 by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department.
In rendering the sentence imposed, Judge Bloom considered the significant mental and physical trauma incurred by the minor victim as a result of Obadiah’s crime. A restitution hearing has been scheduled for February 28, 2020.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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.
The FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force investigated this case in partnership with the Federal South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Human Trafficking Squad, International Rescue Committee, and Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). FBI Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina assisted with the case.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigatory efforts of the FBI Miami Child Exploitation Task Force, MDPD, International Rescue Committee, DCF, and all those who assisted in this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Singh Johannes prosecuted this case.
To report suspected human trafficking or to obtain resources for victims, please call 1-888-373-7888; text “BeFree” (233733), or live chat at HumanTraffickingHotline.org. The toll-free phone, SMS text lines, and online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Help is available in English, Spanish, Creole, or in more than 200 additional languages. The National Hotline is not managed by law enforcement, immigration or an investigative agency. Correspondence with the National Hotline is confidential and you may request assistance or report a tip anonymously.
To learn more about the National Resource Hotline visit www.humantraffickinghotline.org. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking.