Federal Jury Convicts Individuals on Sex Trafficking Charges

Published 11:56 am Monday, January 22, 2024

A federal jury in the Southern District of Mississippi has convicted Michael Deon Fulcher, 54, on charges of sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and interstate transportation for purposes of prostitution. Co-defendant Jonzie Hamilton, 35, had previously pleaded guilty to interstate transportation for purposes of prostitution.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division stated, “The defendant preyed upon this vulnerable victim and used sexual violence and threats of physical harm to coerce her into commercial sex for his financial gain.” Clarke thanked the victim for facing her trafficker, emphasizing the Justice Department’s commitment to prosecuting such cases.

U.S. Attorney Todd Gee for the Southern District of Mississippi highlighted the nationwide impact of human trafficking, pledging aggressive efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers. Acting Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Day of the FBI Jackson Field Office emphasized the FBI’s dedication to investigating human trafficking cases.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Evidence presented at trial revealed Fulcher’s use of sexual assault, threats of violence, isolation, control, psychological manipulation, and emotional abuse to compel the victim into commercial sex between April and June 2020. Fulcher lured the physically injured victim into his car in Las Vegas, falsely promising help, and then sexually assaulted her at his home.

Following the assault, Fulcher transported the victim to California, where he, along with Hamilton, compelled her to engage in commercial sex acts for several weeks. Fulcher imposed strict rules, threatened physical harm, confiscated money and the victim’s Social Security debit card, and even had an unlicensed dentist pull out her teeth. The victim and Hamilton were sent across multiple states for commercial sex, experiencing coercion, control, and threats of harm.

Fulcher’s coercive tactics continued as he required the victim to send him all earnings while on the road, controlled her access to her phone, isolated her from acquaintances, and denied her much-needed medical treatment. The victim eventually escaped while in Mississippi.

A sentencing hearing for Fulcher is scheduled for April 30, where he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and mandatory restitution for the sex trafficking charge. Hamilton’s sentencing hearing is set for January 31. The FBI Gulfport Field Office conducted the investigation.

Trial Attorneys Kate Alexander and Francisco Zornosa of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case, assisted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Jones for the Southern District of Mississippi.