Sex trafficking and child pornography

FBI Charges Detroit Man With Sex Trafficking And Child Pornography Distribution

As the result of a fraud and identity theft investigation, a man in Detroit has been accused by Federal prosecutors of running a sex trafficking operation, as well as producing and distributing child pornography.

According to court records, the case started out as a $50,000 fraud and identity theft investigation by West Bloomfield Police, but led to something much bigger in what has been termed a “house of horrors.”

Their investigation led to the discovery of a sex trafficking operation involving four women, as well as the production and distribution of child pornography.

According to ABC News, Ryon L. Travis, 32, is an unemployed father of seven children. When police officers executed a search warrant at his home on March 2, they seized two cell phones. According to three of the women in the house, the cell phones belonged to Travis and contained graphic images of child pornography.

Among the child pornography images discovered on the phones authorities found one image showing an underage girl lying on a blue and white sheet, a sheet which could also clearly be seen on a bed in Travis’ home.

Speaking of the images on the phones, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Woodward said, “The examination of the defendant’s LG phone recovered a series of pictures depicting the sexual abuse of a very young child by an adult male.”

“The child appears to be between the ages of 3 and 6 years old.”

Later in March, officials returned to the home to find a 25-year-old woman in the living room, with a chain and padlock around her neck, attached to a stripper pole by a longer chain. According to the unnamed woman, she had lived at Travis’ home along with three other women for two years in what is termed a sex trafficking crime. The women were reportedly regularly beaten by Travis if they refused to perform sex acts.

Reportedly, the woman had been chained up to the pole for two weeks after she had attempted to escape from the house and the beatings she was receiving from Travis, which had led her to being hospitalized.

According to court documents, the woman told authorities that when Travis caught up with her, he beat her and then placed her in bondage, chained to the pole.

Reportedly the woman also stated that Travis took her to the bank every month to collect her $700 Social Security disability check. He then made her cash the check and took the money. Reportedly, she also said Travis posted ads online and in chat rooms, stating he had four women available for paid sex acts.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press – who stated that Travis referred to the four women as his “wives” – at a detention hearing on March 23, Travis said, “I choose not to do business with this court. I ask that this case be dismissed.”

However, the judge denied his request and, as requested by prosecutors, ordered him detained until trial on sex trafficking and child pornography charges.

On Monday this week, Travis pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in U.S. District Court and was returned to jail.

Travis stands charged of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion as well as producing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

In his defense, Travis’ court-appointed lawyer, Stacey Studnicki, said that while she understood the seriousness of the charges, she urged the judge to be “skeptical” when accepting the accusations of the women as fact and requested the judge to consider letting Travis live with his wife.

[Image via Police Handout]

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