Man Convicted Of Child Sex Trafficking In Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Eddie Allen Jackson, 31, of Grand Rapids, was convicted yesterday in federal court on three counts of child sex trafficking. From July to August 2012, Jackson recruited teenage girls in Muskegon to work for him as child prostitutes. He drove them back and forth to Grand Rapids, where he put them out on the street to solicit men for sex. He also took them to semi-vacant houses to perform acts of prostitution with men. The teens, whose identities are protected, were in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. The jury convicted Jackson on all three counts after a two-day trial. He was returned to custody following the trial and will be sentenced in September. He faces a mandatory sentence of ten years to life in prison.
“This was the first child sex trafficking case to be prosecuted federally in Western Michigan. The local, state, and federal authorities are committed to working together to locate and stop sex traffickers. Any type of child exploitation is of course a top priority in our district, and those who prey on children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr.
Jackson targeted vulnerable girls with troubled backgrounds. An agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) testified that the victims in this case share qualities common for child victims of sex trafficking. Specifically, he explained that pimps often target teenage girls who are unlikely to tell on the pimp and who are easy to manipulate and control because the pimp fills a void in their lives. Jackson controlled his victims by making them feel like he loved and cared about them, interspersed with threats and violence.
“The sexual exploitation of children is a heinous crime,” said Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “As part of the nationwide Project Safe Childhood initiative, the FBI’s West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force will remain vigilant in combating perpetrators who attempt to prey upon the children of West Michigan, and bring to bear the full weight of the federal criminal justice system upon those who exploit the vulnerabilities of our children.”
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney's Office; county prosecutor's offices; the Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC); and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate communities about the dangers of online child exploitation and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement.
The FBI, in conjunction with the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX), the Grand Rapids Police Department, and the Muskegon Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tessa K. Hessmiller and Russell A. Kavalhuna prosecuted the case.