SPOKANE, WA – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Robert S. Tillman, age 30, of Sacramento, California, and Brandon C. Campbell, age 23, of Troy, New York, have been sentenced to significant terms of custody after their convictions on federal sex trafficking charges.
Following their guilty pleas earlier this summer, United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced Tillman to 15 years and Campbell to 7.5 years in federal prison, to be followed by lengthy terms of court supervision after they are released. Judge Mendoza also ordered Tillman and Campbell to pay a total of $163,200 in restitution ($81,600 per victim) to two victims in this case. Tillman was ordered to pay an additional $20,400 to another victim. The restitution awards represent the income that Tillman and Campbell gained by forcing and coercing their victims to engage in commercial sex acts, sometimes under the threat of a firearm that Tillman carried.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Tillman and Campbell engaged in a scheme that involved pimping out at least three victims in Arizona, Utah, and eventually Wenatchee and Pasco, Washington. One of these victims was a minor. Tillman and Campbell posted online advertisements for their victims’ sexual services, and then forced their victims to engage in prostitution acts at hotel rooms throughout Eastern Washington. Sometimes they hid in the hotel rooms themselves to rob unsuspecting “johns” while brandishing a firearm or threatening violence, a practice known as “trapping” or “tricking.” Tillman used his firearm to threaten victims if they did not follow his specific instructions, and Campbell guarded the doors to the hotel rooms and posted the online advertisements for sex with the victims.
In addition to using force and threats of force to ensure compliance, Tillman and Campbell also made victims take methamphetamine so they could stay awake while they engaged in as many as ten commercial sex encounters in a day, sometimes for seven days a week. Tillman and Campbell kept the money that their victims were forced to earn at their direction; in only a few months, they profited more than a hundred thousand dollars. Judge Mendoza ordered them to pay their victims back the actual value of the commercial sex acts they forced the victims to perform. As Judge Mendoza noted, Tillman and Campbell’s conduct was incredibly damaging to their victims – physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it cannot be tolerated in a just society. Judge Mendoza’s sentence sends a clear message not only to the traffickers themselves, but also to potential customers who seek out children or adults for sex online. These victims are human beings who have been threatened, beaten, and coerced at the point of a gun to engage in commercial sex acts. It is a priority of the United States Attorney’s Office to protect all women and girls from sexual exploitation. Human traffickers in Eastern Washington should know that federal agents are actively looking for them and are waiting for them in every online forum from Craigslist to SkipTheGames. We are deeply committed to investigating, prosecuting, and stopping sex trafficking to the fullest extent possible. I commend the outstanding investigative efforts by the Yakima Office of HSI, and I thank the Support, Advocacy, and Resource Center in Richland for their unwavering support of victims.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
- Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
- Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
- Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
- Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
- Community awareness and educational programs.
This case was investigated by the Yakima Office of HSI, and Special Agent Daina Nunez. This case was prosecuted by Meghan McCalla and David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington. Victim services were provided by Desiree Reynolds at the Support Advocacy Resource Center (“SARC”) in Richland, Washington.