Waterloo couple face federal human trafficking charges

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A Waterloo couple faces federal charges after police said they brought two Chicago teen girls to Iowa for prostitution.

Iowa prosecutors last year charged 35-year-old Lawrence Campbell, Jr. and his wife, 24-year-old Sade Campbell with human trafficking. A federal grand jury indicted them earlier this year and they made initial appearances Tuesday on sex trafficking of children charges.

Court documents show Lawrence Campbell, Jr.met two 16-year-old girls online last August and promised them "a better life" in Iowa. He purchased bus tickets for them to come to Waterloo to live at his house. Investigators said he then told the girls they would have to have sex with men for money and steal items from stores.

Police initially arrested the teens for stealing candy at a Target store.

Daniel Trelka, Waterloo Police Chief, said the call that came in about two juvenile shoplifters was pretty routine. What wasn't so routine was what the officer learned as he kept asking questions.

"It just snowballed. we learned this person had encouraged them to come to Waterloo and paid for a bus ticket so they traveled across state lines to get here and the purpose of getting these girls here was to engage in prostitution for him," Trelka said.

Trelka said Campbell posted the girls photos, in stolen clothing, on a website advertising sexual services. Using a search warrant at Campbell's home, police found clothing stolen from stores and bus receipts.

Trelka said the girls had been in Waterloo for about a week. They told police they had three sexual encounters for money, Sade Campbell collected the money.

A judge set trial dates for both suspects for July 17.