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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Man pleads guilty to luring 15-year-old girl into prostitution

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A man residing in Maryland pleaded guilty Wednesday to sex trafficking a 15-year-old runaway as part of a multi-state conspiracy that prostituted hundreds of women and girls since at least 2008. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C., with assistance from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.

Julio Cesar Revolorio Ramos, 29, of Adelphi, Md., a native of Guatemala illegally present in the United States, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a child and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 8.

"It is clear that Ramos coldly exploited this victim who was already at risk by being a runaway and that he committed the heinous crime of sex trafficking of a minor," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Washington, D.C., John P. Torres. "HSI is committed to protecting victims and to combatting the crime of human trafficking."

"Ramos admitted that he recruited a 15-year-old girl and marketed her youth to customers who sought out young girls for sex," said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. "He was one member of a multi-state conspiracy that prostituted hundreds of women and girls for profit, and this conviction reflects my office's determination to pursue other child sex traffickers and put them out of business in northern Virginia."

"Juvenile sex trafficking is one of the most horrible crimes that one could commit," said Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli II. "Though we can't take back what happened to these girls, my office remains committed to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, so we are determined to get vile criminals like this off the streets and away from our kids."

Ramos admitted in court that he was part of a conspiracy that prostituted Hispanic women and girls - most of whom were illegal aliens - in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He advertised the prostitution business by handing out business cards purporting to be for plumbing, landscaping or snow removal business, but which contained a telephone number a customer could call to obtain sexual services from a prostitute. Ramos and others would hand out these cards to those congregating at sites for day laborers, Hispanic restaurants, and check cashing stores in Virginia.

In January 2009, a 15-year-old female runaway was staying with a man in Maryland who demanded rent from her. Ramos and a co-conspirator encouraged her to work as a prostitute as a "great way to make money." On the first day that Ramos prostituted the girl, she had sexual relations with 17 customers, and on the third day she had sexual relations with 25 customers. Ramos knew that she was less than 18 years old, describing her as "young" to potential customers on the phone. Several customers repeatedly requested her specifically because of her young age.

Ramos admitted that he typically prostituted a woman or girl for a six day period. To ensure that customers had new women for sex, at the end of the six day period, he usually would prostitute a different woman or girl than the one he had prostituted the week before. From June 2010 through December 2010, during weeks that Ramos was prostituting other women and not prostituting the 15-year-old girl, his co-conspirators prostituted her in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

After receiving a portion of the proceeds from the women providing sexual services to his customers, Ramos paid "rent" to MS-13 gang members under threats of violence, and he also sent some proceeds to co-conspirators living in Mexico.

Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Frank are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Founded in 2004, the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies - along with nongovernmental organizations - dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. From FY2011 to the present, 44 defendants have been prosecuted in 25 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia for human trafficking and trafficking-related conduct involving at least 32 victims.