Police in the Detroit area made a horrific discovery while executing a search warrant related to an identity theft investigation when they found a woman chained to a stripper’s pole, with a padlock around her neck.
The 25-year-old woman told police she was a sex slave along with three other women, the Detroit News reports citing federal court documents. Police arrested the owner of the home 31-year-old Ryon Travis.
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During the search of the home police also found a cellphone with sexually explicit images involving young children in what they called a “house of horrors.”
The Washington Post obtained audio of a March 23 detention hearing where Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodard said Ryon had posted online advertisements claiming he had four girls for sale.
“[The woman] said that if she or the other women refused to dance or perform sex acts, the defendant would be violent with them, and that he would hit them with a closed fist, kick them or push them down,” Woodard said according to the Post.
The case began March 2, when police in the Detroit metropolitan area executed a search warrant at Ryon’s two-storey home in the city’s west side for fraud related to an identity theft case involving “money over $50,000,” according to court filings.
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The Detroit News reports officers discovered two cellphones on a living room table that contained “images of child pornography.” Authorities allege some of those images depict a man engaged in a sex act with a “very young” girl lying on a distinctive blue and white sheet seen on a bed at Travis’ house.
During a second search conducted March 21, authorities found a stripper pole in the living room and a woman chained at the neck with a padlock, according to court filings.
Authorities charged Travis with several offences including the producing, transporting and possessing child pornography, fraud, and sex trafficking.
Travis made a court appearance April 4, during which he pleaded not guilty to the charges, which could amount to a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
According to a 2012 report from the International Labour Organization, three out of every 1,000 people worldwide are in forced labour, amounting to nearly 21 million people. Of those, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation, by individuals or enterprises.