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March 22, 2017Norfolk, VAUnited StatesHuman Smuggling/Trafficking

Man indicted for sex trafficking woman for 9 years

NORFOLK, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Portsmouth man with sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion. This case was investigated by the Portsmouth Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) through the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force.

According to the indictment, Naeem Lateef Odums, 39, forced “Jane Doe” to engage in commercial sex acts in California and Virginia for nearly nine years. Odums used a combination of extreme physical violence, threats of violence, and threats of kidnapping Jane Doe’s children, and other forms of control to cause her to perform commercial sex acts. Odums arranged appointments for Jane Doe using a website known to promote prostitution, and collected all the money Jane Doe earned both from her prostitution appointments and her legitimate jobs.  In January 2017, Jane Doe was hospitalized after Odums broke three of her ribs and punctured her lung. Odums was originally charged by criminal complaint March 7.

Odums faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force is led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Office of the Virginia Attorney General, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Samaritan House, and includes partners from local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, along with nonprofit organizations.  Working together, the task force provides services to human trafficking victims, investigates and prosecutes crimes related to sex and labor trafficking, and conducts public outreach activities to promote human trafficking awareness throughout the community. The task force is supported by a $1.4 million federal grant from the Department of Justice to centralize, coordinate, and enhance efforts to combat human trafficking, support victims, and prosecute offenders in Hampton Roads.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated: 03/27/2017