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Case Number: 4:19-cr-00103-CVE
Judge: Claire E. Egan
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Christopher Nassar and Edward Snow
Description: Tulsa, OK - The United States of America charged Ramar Trravelle Palms with sex trafficked a woman through force and coercion then attempted to obstruct the investigation into the crime.
Ramar Travelle Palms, 31, was convicted of the sex trafficking through the use of force, fraud and coercion; attempted obstruction of sex trafficking enforcement; and transporting an individual for prostitution.
“The jury got it right, and I thank them for their service. Human trafficking is a vile and repugnant crime, and it’s happening right here in Oklahoma. So called “pimps” like Mr. Palms dehumanize victims through psychological abuse and sexual exploitation. They control victims with violence and threats,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “The victim in this case, however, was also a survivor. She testified in this case, facing her tormentor as he sat across the courtroom. I hope her courage and this guilty verdict will give hope to others that help is out there. The Tulsa Police Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office remain deeply committed to ensuring every victim’s voice is heard. Together, we will work tirelessly to eradicate human trafficking in our community. From the traffickers who supply commercial sex to the ‘Johns’ who demand it, you will be prosecuted.”
During the four-day trial, the United States showed that Palms trafficked the victim in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Houston. Palms forced the victim to advertise on CityXGuide.com and book hotel rooms in her name, particularly in areas that were closer to higher paying, wealthier johns. He provided the money to advertise and book the rooms but did not allow his name to be associated with the activity in an effort to distance himself legally from the activity.
A Tulsa Police officer testified that he originally met the victim in November 2018 in Tulsa. The Vice officer answered an online advertisement for a “$100 Quick Visit” with the victim, which indicates a short prostitution visit. When the officer arrived, he noticed Palms at the bottom of the stairs watching him enter the hotel. Once with the victim, the officer identified himself and the two discussed the trafficking operation. The victim revealed that she did not willingly participate in prostitution.
The United States argued that the victim did not simply enter into a mutual agreement with Palms to participate in the sex trade as the defense contended. Prosecutors showed that Palms glorified the pimp lifestyle and bragged about making money from selling women. They argued that Palms controlled the victim, the trafficking operations and the money he received from exploiting the victim. They stated that Palms was a “finesse pimp” who used charm to gain the victim’s trust and affection. Then he also began to use control, fear and violence to force and keep the victim in a life of prostitution. The victim described how Palms abused her, often strangling her, when he was angry or she did not produce enough money. The victim also testified that she witnessed Palms violently abusing another female he trafficked.
In the prosecution’s closing, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Nassar and Edward Snow reminded the jury that this trafficking case was about money, violence, fear and control. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nassar described how Palms targeted a vulnerable woman, isolated her, degraded her and imposed his will and force upon her, leading the victim to live in fear if she ever “stepped out of line.” He reminded the jury that the only thing Palms cared about was using the victim to make money. The prosecutors asked the jury to follow the evidence and find Palms guilty.
The Tulsa Police Department conducted the investigation.
18:1591(a)(1) and (a)(2), and 1591(b)(1)-Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, and Coercion
(1) Mistrial - Hung Jury
18 USC 1591(a)(1), 1591(a)(2) and 1591(b)(1): Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, and Coercion
18:1591(d)-Attempted Obstruction of Sex Trafficking Enforcement
(2) Mistrial - Hung Jury
18 USC 1591(d): Attempted Obstruction of Sex Trafficking Enforcement
18:1513(b)(2)-Retaliating Against a Victim and Causing Bodily Harm
(3) Mistrial - Hung Jury
18 USC 1513(b)(2): Retaliating Against a Victim and Causing Bodily Harm
18 USC 2421(a): Transporting Individual for Prostitution
18 USC 2421A(a): Online Promotion and Facilitation of Prostitution
Outcome: Defendant was found guilty on some but not all of the charges.