August 13, 2015

Detroit Man Convicted on Sex Trafficking Charges

A Detroit resident was convicted by a federal jury yesterday on charges of sex trafficking three minor victims using force and coercion, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Paul Abbate, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Willie Curry, 36, of Detroit, was convicted following a two-week jury trial before United States District Judge Denise Page Hood.

Curry was also convicted of producing child pornography depicting the victims, and illegally possessing a firearm.

Evidence presented at the trial established that Curry found his 15- and 16-year-old victims in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, after they had run away from a residence where they had been placed by a juvenile court. Curry convinced the victims to come to Detroit by promising them new clothes and cellular telephones and offering to take care of them. Once in Detroit, however, Curry used physical violence and threats to control his victims, including beating one victim with a metal broomstick when she disobeyed his rules. He took explicit photographs of the victims, and then used the photographs in advertisements for commercial sex acts with the victims.

When one of the victims refused to comply with Curry’s demands to engage in sex acts with strangers for money, he raped her. The next day, the victim climbed out of the bathroom window and fled from the home. She ran to a nearby gas station, where she approached a woman and asked for help. The woman called the girl’s father, who immediately started driving toward them. The woman returned the girl to her father near Lansing, Michigan. The girl was then interviewed by the Michigan State Police, and the information she provided led to the rescue of the other two victims from Curry’s home.

“This defendant preyed on young, vulnerable victims, using false promises, threats and violence to compel them to engage in sex acts for his own profit,” McQuade said. “Sex traffickers like this one treat human beings like commodities to be traded for cash.”

Sentencing is set for December 9, 2015. Curry faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Southeastern Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force (SEMCAC). The Mt. Pleasant Police Department and the Michigan State Police provided crucial assistance in the investigation.