When it comes to sex traffickers, Ryon Travis was among the worst of the worst, the feds say.
He photographed himself sexually assaulting a child, beat a woman and chained her to a pole by her neck, forced her and others into prostitution and held women captive in his house, referring to them as his wives.
His victims are all free now. But he is not — and never will be.
Travis, 39, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, six months after a federal jury convicted him of child pornography and sex trafficking. The federal criminal justice system has no parole.
The public needs to be protected from Travis
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman handed down the punishment, concluding life behind bars was the appropriate punishment for a man who sexually abused a child, chained up a woman in his living room when she tried to escape, and forced her and other women into prostitution — all so he could make money.
“It is my hope that this sentence brings some measure of peace to the survivors, knowing that he will remain behind bars,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Angie Salazar.
The harm he inflicted on a child was especially egregious, prosecutors argued.
"Child sexual abuse leaves an indelible mark on victims. The documentation of the abuse makesthis crime even more egregious," U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said following the sentencing. "The public needs to be protected from Ryon Travis, and this lengthy sentence helps to do just that."
Travis landed on the federal government's radar in 2016 in what started as an identity theft investigation by West Bloomfield police. Travis was under investigation in that suburb for fraud and identity theft when officers executed a search warrant at his Detroit home and found three women. Travis referred to them as his wives, records show.
Pornography of children younger than 12
Five days later, West Bloomfield police returned to Travis' home and made an alarming discovery: a woman chained by her neck to a pole. Asked about the chained woman, Travis told police he was “about to get freaky with her,” court records show.
During the search, police also seized two cellphones that belonged to Travis. They found pornographic images of children younger than 12, including multiple images of an adult male having sex with a young girl while she was lying on a distinctive blue and white sheet. A sheet with that same description was seized from the house that day.
Federal agents unchained the 25-year-old woman and interviewed her. According to court documents, she told the agents that she and three other women lived with Travis, that he sold them for sex on the internet and had the men pick them up at his house — paying him first, in cash. The woman said when she tried to escape, Travis chained her to a pole for two weeks and beat her.
The woman also said that Travis took her to the bank every month when her $700 Social Security disability check arrived, made her cash the check and then stole the money from her.
"This was essentially a brothel or a house of prostitution," a federal prosecutor previously argued.
Travis tried many times to be released on bond, and sought to have his case thrown out, arguing: "I'm a natural-born human of the American land. I choose not to do business with this court. I ask that this case be dismissed."
All of his requests were denied.
If you have a human trafficking tip to report, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888. This is a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual hotline.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit pimp and child pornographer who enslaved women gets life