Human-trafficking charges filed after prostitution sting
BY AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 7:48 AM
An Arkansas man who was arrested during a prostitution sting in Tulsa has been charged with human trafficking. The case is one of three active human-trafficking cases the Tulsa Police Department's Vice Unit is investigating.
Clarence F. Holden, 25, of Fort Smith, faces felony counts of human trafficking and procuring for prostitution, Tulsa County District Court records show.
Officers arrested Holden and two other people Jan. 29 at the Tulsa Inn & Suites, 8201 E. Skelly Drive, after the Vice Unit responded to an Internet post and arranged to meet a woman for "a massage with a 'happy ending' " for $150, police said.
Sgt. Todd Evans said nearly all of the Vice Unit's investigations start with online posts advertising escorts. Once contact is made, detectives try to determine whether the escort is acting willingly or being coerced. Victims of human trafficking are frequently reluctant to tell the police, he said.
"Most of the girls are really, really loyal to the guys that are 'helping' them," Evans said.
During the Jan. 29 bust, a woman - Destiny Hope Niles, 24, also of Fort Smith - told police Holden keeps her money, car keys and credit card and threatened her physically, according to Holden's arrest report.
The trafficking charge alleges that Holden brought Niles to Tulsa from Arkansas "for the purpose of forcing her to engage in commercial sex against her will." A human trafficking conviction requires a minimum of five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
Prosecutors assert in the procurement charge that Holden "attempted to encourage, induce or persuade D.H.N. (Niles) ... to become an inmate of a house of prostitution by offering (her) money to perform sexual acts." If convicted of procurement, Holden would face two to 20 years in prison and a fine of $100 to $3,000.
Niles was arrested on a complaint of soliciting prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church or school. She was released Tuesday after prosecutors decided not to charge her.
Evans said detectives referred Niles to counseling agencies and shelters in Tulsa.
"We hope that she will stay on board" as a witness, he said.
Holden is in the Tulsa Jail with bail set at $102,500.
Police also arrested Deron Deangelo Maxey, 25, of Tulsa at the motel. Maxey was jailed on drug complaints and was later released. He has not been charged.
The Vice Unit has investigated four human-trafficking cases in the last year, including the current cases.
Tarran Arnell Brinson, 23, was charged by a grand jury in January with attempted sex trafficking using telephone and Internet services to facilitate a prostitution business. Police arrested Brinson after meeting with a 15-year-old victim whose services were advertised on an Internet classifieds site.
Detectives have not publicly named a suspect in the third active case.
Another case was dismissed after the victim failed to cooperate and the unit lost contact with her. Evans said that won't stop the Tulsa Police Department from maintaining a no-tolerance policy regarding the crime.
If "you want to help underage girls be prostitutes or if you want to force somebody into prostitution in Tulsa, we are taking an aggressive, active stance in those investigations," he said.
"We are going to arrest you, and we are going to prosecute you to the fullest (extent) that we can."
Original Print Headline: Human-trafficking case filed
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Clarence F. Holden: The 25-year-old has been charged with human trafficking and procuring for prostitution in connection with a Jan. 29 sting.