CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) - A North Carolina man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for operating an extensive sex trafficking enterprise.
Officials said Shahid Hassan Muslim, AKA "Sharp", 33, recruited women and girls, some as young as 16 years old, into prostitution.
Muslim was ordered to pay $13,840 in restitution to the victims of the two sex trafficking counts, which charged Muslim with the sex trafficking of those victims for periods of two months and three months, respectively.
On Aug. 11, 2014, a federal jury found Muslim guilty on all counts, including two counts of sex trafficking, one count of kidnapping, one count of production of child pornography, one count of witness tampering and five counts of promoting a prostitution business enterprise.
Evidence presented during Muslim’s four-day trial, including the testimony of five victims, revealed that Muslim ’s sex trafficking enterprise operated in Charlotte, North Carolina, and other cities from at least 2010 until his arrest in November 2013.
Muslim recruited vulnerable young women and girls from the Charlotte area and advertised them for prostitution on the internet. He lured them into his scheme by promising that they would be part of a “family” when they had none.
Once the women and girls were a part of his enterprise, Muslim demanded all of their proceeds and used brutal violence to control them. As one witness explained, he never hit the victims in the face because it would damage his “merchandise.”
According to the evidence established at trial, Muslim accused one teenage victim of withholding money from him and then proceeded to handcuff and beat her until she admitted to keeping some of her earnings.
Muslim’s assaults on other victims included burning one victim’s leg with a cigarette to teach her a lesson; and punching a third victim in the stomach, without warning, as she balanced with her eyes closed during a “DUI test” he forced her to perform .
After punching her in the stomach, Muslim then dragged her by her hair to a bathroom and repeatedly punched her until she vomited.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that Homeland Security Investigations fights as one of its highest priorities via a coordinated global effort with our law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Annan, in a written statement, released on Tuesday.