Brittanie S. Brattain, 21, was detained pending further disposition of the matter; Deundrea R. Miller, 27, is detained pending hearings set for later this week.
These charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Arlington (Texas) Police Department, and the Fort Worth Police Department – all members of the North Texas Trafficking Task Force.
According to the complaint filed in the case, from September 2012 through January 2013, Miller and Brattain recruited, enticed, harbored and maintained a minor, known as "Jane Doe," who at the time was 15 years old, to engage in commercial prostitution activities that were advertised on Backpage.com. Jane Doe engaged in numerous commercial sex acts during this time and turned over all the money she earned from the prostitution to Miller.
A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The penalty for the charged offense is not less than 10 years or more than life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem is in charge of the prosecution.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.