An East St. Louis man charged in connection with a child sex trafficking case last summer pleaded guilty to four federal charges Thursday.
Michael “Daddy Tru” Johnson admitted to one count of conspiring to commit sex trafficking of children by force, fraud and coercion and to three counts of committing sex trafficking of children by force, fraud and coercion.
According to court documents, Johnson and a co-conspirator decided to start a prostitution business and began recruiting women to be prostitutes in December 2009. They carried on the business until July 2013.
Four of Johnson’s recruits were minors. Two were homeless East St. Louis residents and two were recruited from online chat rooms. According to the documents, “Johnson used fear, threats of physical harm, actual physical harm, lies and verbal manipulation to cause the minor victims to engage in sex intercourse or other sex acts for money.” Police said Johnson knew about and ignored the fact that the four victims were minors.
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Johnson and the co-conspirator also photographed the minors and advertised their services on a website.
Johnson faces at least 15 years in prison on each sex trafficking count and will get additional time for the conspiracy charge. He must pay $250,000 in fines per count and will be sentenced July 26.