U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
(540) 857-2250
August 18, 2015

Franklin County Man Pleads Guilty to Human Trafficking Charges

ROANOKE, VA—A Franklin County man, who forced a local woman to engage in prostitution through the use of physical violence and threats, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke, United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno announced.

Tremayne Rontae Kirby, 25, of Franklin County, Virginia, pled guilty today to one count of recruiting, harboring and causing an individual listed as Victim One in the Indictment to engage in commercial sex through force, threats of force, fraud and coercion (Human Trafficking) and one count of using interstate commerce to promote an enterprise involving prostitution.

“Prosecuting those who engage in human trafficking accomplishes two very important goals. First and foremost, it rescues women from an existence of abuse and degradation and affords them the opportunity to work toward healing and making a better life for themselves, something I know the victims in this case are doing,” United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno said today. “Second, it takes a man who preys on the vulnerabilities of others and puts him, justly, in federal prison.

“Domestic human trafficking is a violation of its victims’ civil rights. It infringes upon the protected liberties guaranteed all Americans and is a high criminal investigative priority for the FBI,” Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charged for the FBI’s Richmond Division said today. “The type of sex trafficking involved in this case demonstrates the very real risk the sex trade poses to our Virginia communities. I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia for their expert administration of this case and the member agencies of the Western District of Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force for their partnership and collaboration.”

Kirby, who was indicted earlier this year, admitted today that he, along with other individuals, operated a prostitution enterprise involving multiple women in Virginia, North Carolina and New Jersey. Kirby used the money generated from the prostitution enterprise to pay for hotels, buy illegal drugs and provide food for himself and the women he used. The defendant posted prostitution advertisements on Internet websites, which included pictures of the women and prices for their services. Kirby secured hotel rooms and transportation for meetings with “Johns.”

From January 2014-May 2014, Kirby prostituted “Victim One.” Kirby admitted today that on many occasions, Victim One did not want to engage in sex acts but did so at the defendant’s insistence. To gain Victim One’s compliance, Kirby hit, body-slammed, shook, and threatened her. Kirby also regularly carried a gun in his waistband. Victim One had a drug habit, which was fed by Kirby and the lifestyle in which she was forced to live. At times Kirby withheld drugs until she performed prostitution services. Kirby kept virtually all of the proceeds Victim One generated through the compelled prostitution activity.

At sentencing, Kirby faces a minimum penalty of fifteen years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 on the human trafficking charge. The other charge carries a maximum possible penalty of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno and Assistant United States Attorney Laura Day Rottenborn are prosecuting the case for the United States.

This prosecution highlights the benefits to law enforcement that come from cooperative participation in a regional task force that targets sex and labor trafficking offenders. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, along with partner agencies throughout the western portion of Virginia, formed the Western District of Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, a group that is actively engaging in the education, investigation and prosecution of crimes involving human trafficking. This task force has educated local police departments throughout the state on investigative techniques to better prepare them to identify cases of human trafficking, victim/witness personnel, juvenile justice workers, and non-government organizations that assist trafficking victims. The task force also meets and shares information about ongoing cases.

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