Sex Trafficker of Minors Sentenced to 32 Years in Federal Prison
Criminal Used Gun, Drugs, Violence to Force Minors to Have Sex in Exchange for Money
Jackson, Miss. – Willie Charles Blackmon, Jr., 37, of Jackson, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves to serve 384 months in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for sex trafficking of minors, announced United States Attorney Mike Hurst and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze. Blackmon was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and register as a sex offender for life.
"Harming, threatening and drugging children to do unspeakable things for money will be swiftly prosecuted by this office and harshly punished in this district. The men and women in law enforcement, as well as our prosecutors and support staff, are to be commended for bringing justice to these victims and accountability to this defendant. I would ask the public to remain vigilant as to these crimes and to promptly report any suspicious activities to law enforcement so that other children never become victims of such heinous acts in the future," said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
"Exploitation of a child for any reason is despicable and has no place in our communities," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Freeze. "The FBI's Child Explotation Task Force will continue to actively pursue anyone who deprives the community of the innocence of children, and fight for justice for their victims."
After a four-day trial in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Blackmon was found guilty on November 30, 2018, of two counts of sex trafficking minors and two counts of promoting a prostitution business.
In July 2014, an investigation began into a prostitution ring in the Jackson area led by Willie Charles Blackmon, Jr. The investigation revealed that Blackmon purchased a runaway minor for $500 and recruited other runaway minors for prostitution. He rented rooms at local hotels in Jackson and Vicksburg for days at a time, where the minors engaged in commercial sex acts with men for money. Blackmon kept most, if not all, of the money earned by the minors from the sex acts. The evidence showed that Blackmon physically harmed the minors, and would threaten them by holding a gun to their heads if they did not perform or if they disrespected him. He also provided drugs to the minors.
The Jackson FBI, Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, FBI New Orleans Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force, Clinton Police Department and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the prostitution ring which spread throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas. Assistant United States Attorneys Glenda R. Haynes and Keith French prosecuted the case.
The 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.