OKC Man Sentenced in Federal Human Trafficking Case

An Oklahoma City man convicted of prostituting a 14-year-old girl and transporting her across state lines to engage in prostitution was sentenced last week in federal court.

William Vontrail Johnson, 28, was indicted on federal child sex trafficking charges in December 2014, after a sting operation conducted by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking Division and the Oklahoma City Police Department Vice Unit. In the case, an undercover officer responded to an online classified advertisement for an escort service. When officers and agents arrived at the hotel where he was to meet the "escort," they found a 14-year-old girl waiting for the undercover officer in the hotel room. 

In the parking lot, they arrested Johnson, who had in his possession $800 cash, a key to the hotel room where the girl was waiting, a smart phone whose internet history indicated that it was used to place the online ad, images of the girl, and video of the man having sex with her.

In March, Johnson pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. He faced 10 years to life in prison.

At sentencing last week, a federal judge sentenced Johnson to 30 years in prison.

Had the case only taken place in Oklahoma City, Johnson would likely have been charged under Oklahoma human trafficking statutes and tried in the Oklahoma County District Court. However, the investigation revealed that he had also taken the girl to Houston, Texas, to engage in child prostitution and commercial sex acts. Transporting a minor across state lines for illicit sexual conduct, commercial sex acts, or other child sexual exploitation allows the federal government to take jurisdiction.

The federal child sex trafficking statute is found in 18 U.S. Code § 1591 - Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion. Under this law, it is a crime to recruit, solicit, transport, or harbor a minor for the purpose of commercial sex, or to benefit financially or otherwise from child prostitution when perpetrated through coercion, force, or fraud. If the minor is at least 14, but under the age of 18, the crime is punishable by 10 years to life in prison. If the minor involved is younger than 14, child sex trafficking is punishable by 15 years to life.

Oklahoma's human trafficking law is found in 21 O.S. § 748. In Oklahoma, human trafficking--whether labor trafficking or sex trafficking--is punishable by 5 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If, however, the trafficking involves a minor under the age of 18, human trafficking is punishable by 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Human trafficking in Oklahoma is an 85 percent crime, which means that any person convicted of human trafficking must serve at least 85 percent of his or her sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Learn more about Oklahoma human trafficking laws here, or call 405-418-8888 to speak with an attorney about your case.   

Image Credit: Mayor McGinn

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