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Sex Trafficking Kingpin Gets 14-40 Years Behind Bars

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James Coleman (Police Handout)

James Coleman (Police Handout)

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - A 51-year-old Detroit man who was convicted of running a sex trafficking ring in Southfield and surrounding areas could end up spending the next 40 years behind bars.

James Coleman was sentenced Monday after an Oakland County Circuit Court jury found him guilty of multiple sex charges last month.

Coleman, who goes by the name “Sweet James,” was convicted of transporting a female for prostitution, accepting earnings from prostitution, and using a computer to commit a crime.

“I am very proud of the efforts of the investigators on this case, which has resulted in the arrest and conviction of a very dangerous person and has helped the victims of these horrible crimes feel a sense of closure,” Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said in a statement.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Southfield Police Department, Michigan State Police and the FBI through the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Michigan State Police Captain Monica Yesh said the department will continue working with the task force to take down violent predators.

“Sex trafficking is a horrible crime and I am pleased with the sentence of James Coleman,” Yesh said in a statement. “This sentence sends a strong message that sex trafficking of any kind will not be tolerated in Michigan.”

Officials say Coleman has a lengthy history with prostitution.

According to the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, Coleman was convicted back in 2001 in Ohio on a charge of transporting minors for sexual activity. According to FBI documents, Coleman would lure young, troubled girls to Detroit with promises of sympathy, money and jobs. Once in the big city, investigators say his victims were forced to work 10- to 12-hour shifts as prostitutes. Court documents from the case show that the girls were confined in houses, force-fed drugs and subjected to beatings. Some of his victims were as young as 12-year-old, the FBI said.

Coleman was also convicted in 2005 in the 6th Circuit Court in Pontiac on charges of prostitution–pandering.

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