Criminal Justice News

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Florida Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking and Interstate Prostitution



U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza of the Middle District of Florida sentenced Abdhullah Hamidullah, 43, to serve 482 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, the Justice Department announced today.  Hamidullah pleaded guilty on June 17, 2016, to sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, and to enticing individuals to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution and transporting individuals in interstate commerce for prostitution in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421 and 2422.

According to admissions in connection with his guilty plea, Hamidullah lured a young woman identified as A.W. to travel to Florida on false pretenses, then forced her to engage in commercial sex acts with multiple customers a day, for several months, and provide him the proceeds.  Hamidullah isolated her in his apartment, took away her money and phone, and installed an alarm without providing her the code.  He also assaulted her, showed her his handgun, and branded her with a tattoo in the course of compelling her to prostitute for his profit.  As part of his plea agreement, Hamidullah agreed to pay restitution to six women identified as victims of his sex trafficking scheme. 

“This defendant preyed on vulnerable young victims and cruelly exploited them for his profit,” stated Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler.  “This sentence sends a clear message that the United States will not tolerate modern-day slavery and will work tirelessly to restore the rights and dignity of victims of human trafficking.”

“This defendant used physical abuse and intimidation to force young women to engage in prostitution,” stated U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III. “This prosecution ends the defendant’s vicious pattern of exploitation and, hopefully, brings a measure of relief and justice to his victims.”

“These women were victims of a brutal criminal organization, who through the use of violence were forced into interstate sex trafficking. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) continues to investigate these crimes as one of our highest priorities through a coordinated global effort,” said Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. “HSI will continue to investigate and seek prosecution of these criminals, while also ensuring the victims of this terrible crime are rescued and receive the care they need.”

“The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation works closely with its federal and local partners to investigate and successfully prosecute sex traffickers,” said Director Ron Stucker of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation for the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida.  “The evidence in this case demonstrates the ruthlessness of sex traffickers, the urgency to rescue victims and the resolve of law enforcement to bring traffickers to justice.”

Documents filed and evidence presented in connection with the case indicated that Hamidullah began operating his sex trafficking enterprise in 2005, recruiting multiple women and causing them to engage in commercial sex acts for his profit.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Orlando-based Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ilianys Rivera Miranda of the Middle District of Florida, and Trial Attorney William Nolan of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

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