Tacoma Man Sentenced for Trafficking a 17 Year-Old in Portland
Zerick Jamel Dawson, a.k.a. “YD”, 28 was sentenced to 114 months in federal prison yesterday by U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty, after pleading guilty on October 25, 2011 to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to traffic a minor for commercial sex. Dawson was also sentenced to five years of supervised release. Co-defendants Edward Williams and Shawntay Wilson were also sentenced to prison terms on November 7, 2011 and November 14, 2011 respectively.
The case arose when the 17 year old minor victim was found in a room with co-defendants Williams and Wilson at a Portland hotel. The federal indictment alleges that Zerick Dawson and his co-defendants were involved in a conspiracy to recruit, entice, transport, harbor, provide, and maintain the minor victim so she could engage in commercial sex acts for money. Wilson, an adult prostitute, would take photographs of the minor and use her laptop and credit cards to pay for commercial sex advertisements that were posted on the online advertising services at Backpage.com. Williams rented hotel rooms and drove the minor back and forth between Washington and Oregon as well as to the homes or places where customers paid money to engage in sexual acts with the minor. Dawson directed the activities of the entire group and collected the money earned from Wilson and the minor. Other photographic and documentary evidence as well as recorded conversations linked Dawson to the conspiracy and identified him as the leader of the group. All of the defendants were fully aware of the minor’s status and attempted to hide her identity from law enforcement.
This case was brought through the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force (OHTTF). The OHTTF was created in May of 2005. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the task force provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to combat human trafficking through partnerships between federal, state, local law enforcement, social service providers, and other government and non-government agencies. To provide a local tip on a human trafficking please call Multnomah County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Keith Bickford at (503) 251-2479. You can also report human trafficking tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or go online to NHTRC@PolarisProject.org.
This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau and FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kemp L. Strickland.