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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Dujuan Harris, 35, of Providence, R.I., was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith to 20 years in federal prison for trafficking a 17-year-old girl from Texas to Rhode Island for the purpose of offering her for commercial sexual activity, 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 (HSI) for New England.

Chief Judge William E. Smith imposed the sentence after Harris withdrew a motion he filed to withdraw his December 16, 2015, guilty plea to sex trafficking of a child and possessing child pornography. During a sentencing hearing in April 2016, Harris indicated to the court that he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea. He filed a motion to that effect on June 3, 2016, which the government opposed.

At the time of his guilty plea, Harris admitted to the court that he befriended the victim on the Internet, and that he continued to communicate with her via cell phone, text messages and Skype. Harris admitted that in June 2015, he facilitated the victim’s travel to Rhode Island by paying travel expenses to Boston via bus and then drove her to Providence. Once in Providence, Harris took photographs of the victim in various stages of undress and repeatedly posted them in ads on Backpage.com, offering the victim for commercial sexual activity. An investigation by Providence Police and Homeland Security Investigations determined that the response to the ad was immediate and that numerous sexual encounters with the victim for a fee were arranged.

On June 30, 2015, HSI agents, Providence Police detectives and members of the Human Trafficking Task Force located the victim in Harris’ apartment in Providence and rescued her. Investigators discovered numerous nude photographs of the 17-year-old victim on Harris’ cell phone.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “The defendant here is a remorseless, recidivist, and manipulative predator who deserves the longest possible sentence.  Every day that he walks the street is a day that children are at risk.  His efforts at manipulation here were as transparent as glass, and he fooled no one but himself.  May he reflect on that as he serves his entirely deserved, very lengthy sentence in federal prison.”

Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of HSI for New England added, “This sentencing will ensure that Dujuan Harris will be unable to harm other juveniles for a long time. We will continue to pursue those engaged in commercial sex trafficking with the help of our partners in Providence and beyond. This case serves as a good example of how partnerships between federal and local law enforcement can serve as a significant deterrent to those seeking to exploit children.”

“The Providence Police Department, along with our federal and local law enforcement partners, will continue to work vigilantly to remove people like Harris from the streets of our city and state,” said Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements. “Subjects who prey on young women for solicitation of sexual activity are a high priority for our investigators, and this sentencing should serve as an example to criminals in the sex trafficking game.”

Since his arrest and detention at the ACI, despite a no-contact order, Harris contacted the victim more than 100 times.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terrence P. Donnelly and Ly T. Chin.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha thanks prosecutors from the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General who assisted 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

Topic(s): 
Human Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-115
Updated November 22, 2016