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Press Release

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Tennessee Man and Kentucky Woman for Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

Louisville, KY – A federal grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, returned an indictment on March 8, charging a Tennessee man with sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. The indictment further charged that the defendant conspired with a Kentucky woman to commit that crime.

According to the indictment, between Aug. 8 and 11, 2022, Portier Q. Govan, 36, of Memphis, Tennessee, used force, threats of force and coercion to compel an adult woman to engage in commercial sex. The indictment also charges Govan and Brittany R. Howard, 24, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, with entering into an agreement to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. 

Govan made his initial court appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Kentucky on March 20, 2023. Howard is expected to make her initial appearance later this week. If convicted of sex trafficking, Govan faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to life imprisonment. If convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, Govan and Howard face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, and Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office made the announcement.

The Bowling Green Police Department and the FBI Louisville Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda E. Gregory for the Western District of Kentucky and Trial Attorney Francisco Zornosa of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit are prosecuting the case.

The FBI is asking anyone with information about Portier Govan or Brittany Howard to contact the FBI Bowling Green Resident Agency at (270) 781-4734. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated March 20, 2023