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Press Release

Providence Man Indicted on Sex Trafficking, Witness Tampering & Child Pornography Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal grand jury in Providence on Wednesday returned a five-count indictment charging Dujuan Harris, 35, of Providence, R.I., with sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl, witness tampering and production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England.

The indictment charges Harris with one count each of sex trafficking a child, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and witness tampering.

It is alleged that after befriending a 17-year-old female on the Internet, Harris purchased tickets for the teenager to pay for her to travel by bus from her home in Texas to Boston. Harris met the young woman when she arrived in Boston on June 12, 2015, and then purchased a ticket for her to travel with him by bus to Providence. Within a few days of her arrival in Providence, it is alleged that the defendant took photographs of the victim in various stages of undress and posted them in ads on Backpage.com.

According to an investigation by the Providence Police Department and agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the response to the ad was immediate and several sexual encounters with the 17-year-old for a fee were allegedly arranged. All of the funds were allegedly turned over to Harris.

According to court documents, when Harris told the young woman that he wanted to earn more money by having her engage in an increased number of sexual encounters for payment, the young woman told Harris she no longer wanted to participate. It is alleged that Harris removed the battery from the victim’s cell phone so that she could not be located and on several occasions refused to allow her to leave the Providence apartment they were staying in.

On June 30, 2015, HSI agents, Providence Police detectives and members of the Human Trafficking Task Force located the victim in an apartment in Providence. Following the rescue of the victim, law enforcement discovered numerous nude photographs of the 17-year-old victim on Harris’ cell phone allegedly taken from Skype conversations between Harris and the victim while she was in Texas.

According to the indictment, it is alleged that between August 19 and September 15, 2015, while detained, Harris allegedly engaged in numerous telephone conversations with the victim in an intimidating and/or threatening manner, in an attempt to influence, delay and prevent the victim from providing testimony in this matter to a grand jury and to law enforcement.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ly T. Chin.

Prosecutors from the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General are assisting the United States Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of this matter.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

Updated November 30, 2015

Topic
Human Trafficking
Press Release Number: 15-81