Sex-trafficking suspect held in Charleston County jail indicted on federal charges (copy)

Damon Jackson

A man convicted of leading a South Carolina sex trafficking ring that preyed on women and minors from several Southern states will be spending several decades in federal prison.

Damon Jackson, a 25-year-old Columbia resident, received a 40-year sentence, according to a statement Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Jackson, who also went by the monikers "D" and "Daddy Frost," was convicted after a trial in March 2017 along with two co-defendants: Bakari McMillan and Corey Miller, according to the statement.

"Evidence presented at the trial and sentencing hearings established that the defendants preyed on over 100 vulnerable female victims, many minors, forcing them on an almost a daily basis to have sex with numerous 'Johns' a night from 2014 through the summer of 2016," according to the statement. 

Jackson and his conspirators used tactics like beatings, brandings, supplying and then withholding drugs and psychological manipulation to control their victims, according to the statement. 

The ring was uncovered after an arrest at a North Charleston motel in August 2014 after a woman told police Jackson had held her captive and forced her to make $500 a night through customers lined up through the now-shuttered website, backpage.com.

McMillan, a 25-year-old Columbia resident, also received a 40-year prison sentenced while Miller, a 44-year-old Orangeburg resident, received 20 years, according to the statement. 

Seven other defendants named in the case pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking prior to the trial and received sentences ranging from six to 25 years, according to the statement. 

Aside from prison time, all the defendants were given lifetime supervision, mandatory sex offender registration and ordered to participate in a computer and internet monitoring program, among other conditions, according to the statement. 

"These sentences send the clear message that human trafficking will not be tolerated in South Carolina," said Sherri Lydon, U.S. attorney for South Carolina. "The defendants in this case preyed on some of the most vulnerable among us. Without the coordinated effort of the investigative team, these atrocities may never have come to light."

In the time since Jackson's 2014 arrest, authorities have made major strides in combating human trafficking in the Palmetto State under the leadership of the statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. 

Experts say more work is needed, particularly in the areas of treating and housing victims.

For more information on the S.C. Human Trafficking Task Force visit humantrafficking.scag.gov. If you suspect someone is being trafficked, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or visit humantraffickinghotline.org.

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.