Houston Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking of Children
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 09, 2014|
HOUSTON—Tevon Harris, aka “Da Kidd” and “King Kidd,” 22, of Houston, has entered a plea of guilty on two charges of trafficking children under 18 for commercial sex, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
According to the plea agreement, from January through July 2012, Harris forced young girls, whom he knew were minors, into prostitution by using force and intimidation. Harris stipulated that in order to gain the trust of victims, whom he met on social networking sites, he would tell them he was going to help them become models. Instead, he picked them up, took them to motel rooms, and then forced them to have sex with him. Harris would also deprive them of their cell phones, thereby cutting off their communication with the outside world.
Harris used violence to keep the minors cooperating with him. In one instance, he deprived a victim of food for more than four days because he did not believe she was servicing his clients well enough. He also supplied her with marijuana and alcohol. Another victim was beaten with a towel rack torn from a motel room wall when Harris found her using the phone to call her mother for help.
The victims were photographed and their images were posted in online ads for prostitution. Harris kept all money they earned.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner accepted the guilty pleas today and set sentencing for July 7, 2014. At that time, Harris faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Harris also faces a maximum of life on supervised release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender. He was ordered to remain in custody pending that hearing.
An investigation by the Houston FBI Innocence Lost Task Force, which includes such agencies as the Houston Police Department, developed this case using statements from victims, as well as online advertisements for the victims’ services and hotel records from several hotels.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”