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Press Release

Memphis Man Faces Potential Life Sentence for Sex Trafficking Convictions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – After a three-day jury trial in federal court, Antonio Hawkins, 41, was convicted of multiple counts of sex trafficking. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee announced the guilty verdict today.

According to information presented in court, in April 2016, Antonio Hawkins took three women from New Orleans to Houston to put the women out on the prostitution track. While in Houston, Hawkins picked up a fifteen-year-old runaway, and put her on the track as well. Hawkins subsequently brought them to Memphis to work. All of the women, including the minor (who is now seventeen), testified at trial that Hawkins threatened to, and did, use violence to keep them from leaving him. The women testified that Hawkins struck them, pointed a gun at them and fired warning shots, and once even used a hot hair iron to intimidate the women into doing as he instructed.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Human trafficking of minors and adults for commercial sex purposes is an unconscionable crime that must be met with severe consequences. We commend the FBI for their outstanding investigation of these heinous crimes, and we are pleased to achieve justice for the victims in this disturbing case."

Sentencing is set for Friday, November 2, 2018 before U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman. Hawkins faces a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum of life.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals, federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kasey Weiland and Deb Ireland prosecuted this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated July 23, 2018