The life sentence resulted from a joint investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Cook County Sheriff's Office. The
Alex Campbell, 47, formerly of
Campbell, aka "Dave" and "Daddy," called himself "Cowboy." He was sentenced to life in prison Nov. 26 by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman, Northern District of Illinois, and ordered to pay about $124,000 restitution. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
"They (the victims) have a life sentence – all of them...and their life sentence at your hands compels a life sentence for you," Judge Gettleman said in imposing sentence.
"The seriousness of Campbell's crimes cannot be overstated, nor could the government put into words the magnitude of harm or the life-altering consequences of Campbell's actions...An evaluation of the seriousness of what Campbell has done must necessarily begin by looking at his victims, whose lives he upended, dreams he shattered, ideals he undermined, and whose faith in humanity he so cruelly crushed," the government argued in urging a life sentence.
"If you treat human beings as property, to be branded, beaten, raped and sold, the law will punish you to the greatest extent possible," said Gary S. Shapiro, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. "This sentence ensures Alex Campbell's incapacitation, which will prevent him from victimizing other women."
"Alex Campbell abused women by violently coercing them into labor and commercial sex. By working together with law enforcement and community groups, those women were able to testify about that abuse," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "Today's sentence is a victory not only for the department and the Human Trafficking Task Force, but also for those women who so bravely came forward and told the truth about their exploitation."
"This life sentence sends a clear message to those who think they can callously prey upon vulnerable women to turn a profit," said Gary J. Hartwig, special agent-in-charge of HSI Chicago. "The servitude, abuse and torture of other human beings will not be tolerated. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who engage in human trafficking are held accountable for their actions."
Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, whose sheriff's police initiated the investigation, said, "I am extremely proud of the effort and resolution of all the agencies involved with the successful investigation, conviction and now sentencing of such a violent individual."
All four victims testified as government witnesses at trial, as well as co-defendant Danielle John, 25, who pleaded guilty before trial to two counts of harboring illegal aliens for financial gain. She was sentenced previously to three years' probation. In addition to the trial victims, the government presented evidence of about 20 women victimized by
The trial showed that
Trial testimony established that
Campbell forced one victim to engage in commercial sex acts with customers at other massage parlors, but not at the Day and Night Spa, which testimony showed he operated "cleanly" to avoid problems with law enforcement. He extorted another victim to pay him more than $25,000 to leave the "family" by threatening to send a sexually explicit video recording to her parents in
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane MacArthur and Steven Grimes, Northern District of Illinois, and John Richmond, Special Litigation Counsel with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, successfully prosecuted the case.
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes that HSI investigates. In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. HSI relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared. HSI encourages the public to report suspicious activity by calling HSI's Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or report tips online.