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August 20, 2009

MEXICAN CITIZEN INDICTED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING OF A CHILD

(HOUSTON) - A Mexican national illegally in the United States has been indicted for sex trafficking of a child, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The indictment, returned today by a federal grand jury in Houston is the result of an investigation conducted by member agencies of the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA).

The single count indictment charges Naim Jorge-Tovar, 33, with sex trafficking of a child. Federal law prohibits anyone from using force, fraud and coercion to cause any person to engage in commercial sex acts and to knowingly cause any person, who had not yet attained the age of 18, to engage in these commercial sex acts. 

According to allegations contained in a criminal complaint filed against Tovar on July 22, 2009, Tovar romanced a 16-year-old Mexican female, in Mexico, and smuggled her into the United States around April 2009. Shortly after arriving in the country, Tovar told the victim she would have to work in an apartment. She thought he meant that she would work cleaning an apartment. What he meant, according the complaint, was that she would be working as a prostitute in an apartment. The victim was threatened with physical harm if she refused. Tovar kept all the money derived from the commercial sex acts the victim was coerced into performing. The 16-year-old victim eventually told a relative residing the United States about her situation. The relative, in turn, notified the Houston Police Department (HPD). HPD officers rescued the 16-year old on June 8, 2009, and arrested Tovar. 

Originally in state custody, Tovar was transferred into federal custody following the filing of the criminal complaint in July. A federal court has ordered Tovar to remain in federal custody, without bond, pending trial.

If convicted of this offense, Tovar faces a minimum of 10 years to a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. 

The criminal charges are the result of an investigation conducted by members of the HTRA, a federally funded multi-agency collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies founded in August 2004 working together with area social services organizations to identify and assist the victims of human trafficking and to effectively identify, apprehend and prosecute those engaged in trafficking offenses. The HTRA members who participated in this investigation include the HPD, FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo.

 

 

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