WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- A man authorities say forced a UNT college student into sex trafficking and violated his parole by obtaining firearms has been arrested.
The investigation began on February 9 when the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office contacted the North Texas Trafficking Task Force about a woman who said was a victim of sex trafficking. The woman claimed that a man named Joshua William Jackson "used force, fraud and coercion" to make her engage in commercial sex acts.
She told officials that in September of 2012, at the age of 18, she enrolled at the University of North Texas and moved into a dorm room with a friend. The pair attended an anime convention in Dallas, where they met Jackson, the affidavit states.
She said the following month, Jackson came to visit her in Denton from his home in Houston and he "began living at her dorm room on a permanent basis," the affidavit states. It's unclear how long they lived in the UNT dorms.
A UNT spokeswoman told News 8 the school is unable to verify the information in the court documents, but said Jackson has never had any affiliation with UNT.
Between February 2013 and May 2013, the woman said Jackson manipulated and forced her into sex acts. By June, things escalated. The victim said Jackson ordered her to charge clients and give him the proceeds. If she protested, Jackson used a Taser on her and threatened to “kill her bloodline,” the affidavit states.
She also claimed he threatened her with a gun on at least 10 occasions.
The victim said Jackson forced her to travel with him and perform various sex acts in several cities across Texas and Tampa, Florida. In January 2016, the victim was able to finally escape and call authorities.
“There's typically a climate of fear, whether it’s isolation, physical force or psychological factors,” said Sumayyah Chenault, a human trafficking outreach specialist with Dallas non-profit Mosaic Family Services.
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there’ve been 141 human trafficking cases reported in Texas in 2016 alone.
“Human trafficking is happening in all demographics of society,” Chenault said, calling it a "hidden crime."
She said in 50 percent of trafficking cases, the victim knows the trafficker. It can even be a family member.
During their investigation, authorities say they discovered Jackson violated probation from when he was sentenced to five years deferred adjudication in 2010 for theft. The document says Jackson was on probation for that crime when he had a roommate buy him four guns between Sept. 11, 2014 and April 27, 2016.
Because obtaining weapons is a violation of his probation, an arrest warrant was issued for Jackson on April 12, and he was arrested by Wichita Falls police on April 27. Three women were also found inside the home, but the affidavit didn't say whether they were also victims of sex trafficking.
A criminal complaint affidavit filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives states Joshua William Jackson is charged with Illegal Receipt of a Firearm While Under Indictment.
To date, Jackson has only been indicted on the gun charge.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Jackson’s trafficking case is still very much under investigation. The office would not tell News 8 if any of the alleged sex crimes happened at UNT.
“It’s not something we assume is happening on campus,” said student Bradford Love, though he acknowledged anything can happen anywhere.
If you or someone you know needs help from trafficking, call the NHTRC at 1-888-373-7888.
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