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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Colorado Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud or Coercion

DES MOINES, Iowa – On August 1, 2018, following a three-day trial, a jury found Antoinne Lee Washington, 33, guilty of one count of sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion, and one count of transportation for prostitution. Sentencing has been scheduled for December 5, 2018, at 9:00 a.m., before United States District Court Judge Stephanie Rose.

Washington was charged with sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion, from May through September 2017. During trial, the government presented evidence that Washington had a relationship with the victim for several years, during which time the victim engaged in commercial sex acts for Washington’s financial benefit. Washington coerced the victim into engaging in sex acts by imposing a series of rules upon the victim, such as calling him “Daddy”. The evidence showed Washington also required the victim to turn over to him the proceeds from sex acts, and that he prohibited her from looking at African American males. Washington enforced these rules through threats of physical force and assaults on the victim, to include beating and burning the victim.

From May through September 2017, Washington transported the victim through several states so that she would engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit, ultimately arriving at a hotel in Urbandale, Iowa, on September 20, 2017. That evening, after the Defendant had physically assaulted her, the victim called the hotel desk and asked them to contact law enforcement. The Urbandale Police Department responded to the call, which initially came to them as a domestic assault complaint. After observing the victim and several items in the hotel room, including personal journals and hotel receipts, the Urbandale Police Department suspected sex trafficking, and notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion is punishable by a minimum of fifteen years’ imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment. Transportation for prostitution is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment.

Human trafficking is defined as a crime involving the exploitation of youth under the age of 18 for commercial sex; the exploitation of adults for commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion; and the exploitation of any individual for compelled labor. Human trafficking does not require the transportation of individuals across state lines, or that someone is physically restrained. Signs that a person is being trafficked can include working excessively long hours, unexplained gifts, physical injury, substance abuse issues, running away from home, isolation from others, or having a person in their life controlling them or monitoring them closely. Anyone who suspects human trafficking is occurring, be it a minor engaging in paid sex acts, or anyone being coerced into prostitution or labor, is urged to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Urbandale Police Department, and the case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Human Trafficking
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300
Updated August 2, 2018