SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Federal jurors have convicted a man accused of coercing women into the sex trade in southeastern South Dakota.
Carl Campbell, 37, was convicted Friday of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; two counts of sex trafficking of a child; interstate transportation for prostitution; and obstruction of sex trafficking enforcement, the Argus Leader reported.
The jury deliberated just under four hours before reaching its verdict. Sex trafficking by force and sex trafficking of a minor carry mandatory minimum sentences of 10 to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life. A sentencing date has not been set.
Campbell told Judge Karen Schreier that he wanted to appeal, saying he had wanted to introduce more evidence and call more witnesses but his counsel advised against it.
“I feel that my case was mismanaged and not properly represented,” Campbell said.
Schreier told him he’d need to wait until after his sentencing to appeal.
“I just want it on the record,” Campbell said.
Campbell, a Chicago native, admitted to beating his former girlfriend but said the violence was related to alcohol and jealousy, not prostitution.
He also said his ex-girlfriend and two other women who testified about being recruited into prostitution as minors made up their stories.
Prosecutors argued that Campbell was skilled in finding and preying upon troubled and vulnerable girls.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner told jurors during closing arguments to look upon the witnesses with empathy, as they each shared a history of abusive in childhood and juvenile delinquency.
“In this room, there are no throwaway kids,” Koliner told jurors. “There are no people who do not matter. In this room, there is justice.”
U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson called the verdict a victory in the fight against the sex trafficking of teens in South Dakota.
“There is no greater priority for law enforcement or for my office than ending the sex trafficking of children,” Johnson said.