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Jacksonville man gets 15 years for prostitution

Eric J. Thompson (Onslow County Sheriff's Office photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - A Jacksonville man has been sentenced for his role in interstate transportation for prostitution.

Eric J. Thompson, 29, of Jacksonville, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay $19,200 in restitution, according to the Department of Justice. It stems from Thompson pleading guilty on Nov. 9, 2016.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce of the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Special Agent in Charge Nick Anan of ICE Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta announced the sentence.

"Human tracking is a heinous violation of an individual's rights and freedoms, and today's sentence sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will work tirelessly on behalf of human trafficking victims in order to stop this appalling criminal activity," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

"We are grateful for our law enforcement partners and U.S. Attorney Bruce as we combat and dismantle human trafficking networks." Thompson was 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. Documents filed in the case say Thompson operated an interstate prostitution business in North and South Carolina. He used false promises of money and fame to recruit and entice five women to prostitute for his profit. He then used a scheme involving isolation, threats and abuse to compel them to continue prostituting. Thompson further filmed himself performing sexual acts with the women and posted those videos online for sale without the victims' consent.

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