Jacksonville man gets 15 years in prison for human trafficking

WASHINGTON (WNCT) — A Jacksonville man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for human trafficking.

Eric J. Thompson, 29, pleaded guilty in November to one count of interstate transportation for prostitution and one count of using an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise.

According to documents filed in the case and admissions in connection with the guilty plea, Thompson operated an interstate prostitution business enterprise in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Officials said he used false promises of money and fame to recruit and entice five women to prostitute for his profit, and then used a scheme involving isolation, threats, and abuse to compel them to continue prostituting.

Thompson also filmed himself performing sexual acts with the women and posted those videos online for sale without their consent, federal officials said.

Thompson was originally indicted on March 16, 2016, and charged with one count of sex trafficking, five counts of interstate transportation for prostitution, one count of using an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise, and one count of failing to maintain records related to individuals depicted in videos of sexually explicit conduct.

A second defendant, Dequann Ross, was charged by information and pleaded guilty on August 9, 2016 to one count of using an interstate facility to promote a prostitution business enterprise for his role in aiding and abetting Thompson. He was sentenced on February 2, 2017, to 30 months in prison.

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