MEMPHIS, TN—Marvell Antonio Culp, Jr., age 24, of Memphis, Tennessee, pled guilty to sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, announced Edward L. Stanton III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, and Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In the summer of 2011, Marvell Antonio Culp, Jr. met a young female through social networking. The woman, who was living in Mississippi, came to Memphis at Culp’s urging, believing she was in a romantic relationship with Culp. Instead, Culp used threats and physical force to cause the young woman to engage in prostitution. Culp used a website to promote her availability, and also made her walk a known street of prostitution in Memphis to solicit business. In addition, Culp used the woman in efforts to recruit other females for his scheme. Culp faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for December 19, 2012.
“The cold and calculated manner in which Marvell Antonio Culp, Jr. lured and forced an unsuspecting teen victim into a life of prostitution was nothing less than sinister. As a result of this prosecution by our district’s Civil Rights Unit, Culp now faces 15 years to life in prison,” said United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton III. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will remain relentless in protecting our most vulnerable citizens—our children—from those individuals who engage in the unconscionable act of sex trafficking.”
“The FBI has made it a priority to investigate those who exploit children and young women and prey on them, seeking to line their pockets by trafficking them for their bodies,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We will continue to diligently work with our law enforcement partners to build cases against those who threaten, manipulate and harm our youth in this modern form of slavery.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steve Parker and Debra Ireland and Trial Attorney Michael W. Grant of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance provided by the Memphis Police Department.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.