A Wisconsin man was sentenced to life in prison after police say he transported teenage girls to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to have them engage in prostitution.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 32-year-old Robert Jackson from Milwaukee pleaded guilty in November 2013 to one count of transporting minors across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jackson admitted that on July 16, 2013 he transported the teens from Milwaukee to Wisconsin to have them work as prostitutes. The girls were 15 and 17 at the time of the offense.
“The evidence showed that Jackson threatened to kill the 15-year-old child and her family if she ever attempted to leave him,” said a spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “On one occasion when both girls left him for a time, Jackson beat the 15-year-old with a belt and raped her, and beat the 17-year-old in the face with his fists.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jackson had the girls prostitute themselves in Milwaukee and Iowa and kept the money they received. Evidence showed that he “coerced by threats and force” to get the girls to travel to Iowa.
Jackson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade in Cedar Rapids. Jackson was held in the U.S. Marshal’s custody until he could be taken to federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Techau said authorities are working to investigate human trafficking, and are cooperating with community-based organizations to help victims of trafficking.
“This defendant preyed on vulnerable young girls and exploited them for prostitution,” said Techau. “The underground nature of human trafficking makes it hard to fight and it can be especially dangerous for young people and disadvantaged kids in both big cities and rural areas.”