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Friday, June 17, 2016

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking and Interstate Prostitution



The Justice Department announced today that Abdullah Hamidullah, 42, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida to one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; two counts of enticing a person to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution and one count of interstate transportation for prostitution.  On Feb. 10, 2016, a grand jury in the Middle District of Florida returned an indictment charging Hamidullah with five counts of sex trafficking and related violations.

According to admissions in his plea agreement, Hamidullah compelled an 18-year-old woman to prostitute for his profit.  After enticing the victim to travel to Florida under false pretenses, he forced her to have sex with multiple customers a day over a period of 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. 

“Hamidullah preyed on a vulnerable young woman and cruelly exploited her for his profit,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We will continue to aggressively enforce our human trafficking laws to restore the rights, freedom and dignity of victims of modern-day slavery.”

“Rescuing human trafficking victims and bringing the criminals who enslave them to justice is a top priority for special agents with Homeland Security Investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Susan L. McCormick of HSI Tampa.  “HSI will continue to work with our local, state, federal and international law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute human traffickers.”

“As a multi-agency task force, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation participates with its local, state and federal partners to bring human traffickers to justice and seek restoration for victims of this terrible crime,” said Director Ron Stucker of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.  “The investigation and prosecution of Abdullah Hamidullah is another example of close cooperation between local and federal authorities to protect the community.”

Hamidullah faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 15, 2016.  As part of his plea agreement, Hamidullah agreed to pay restitution to six women identified as victims of his sex trafficking scheme.

This case was investigated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations’ Orlando Field Office and Orlando’s Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ilianys Rivera 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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