(STL.News) – A man convicted of sex trafficking a woman and obstructing the resulting investigation was sentenced today in U.S. District Court, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Ramar Travelle Palms, 31, of Tulsa, to 235 months in federal prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. The Court further ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $33,899.94, which is the approximate amount that Palms profited from trafficking the victim. Upon release from prison, Palms will be required to register as a sex offender.
“Ramar Palms targeted, isolated, degraded, and trafficked a female victim. But she found her voice and courageously testified against him at trial,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Prosecuting sex traffickers remains a priority for my office, and a sentence of nearly 20 years in federal prison should send a strong message of deterrence.”
During her victim impact statement, the victim spoke of the mental and physical abuse she endured under Palm’s control. “I want to make it clear that not only was my voice taken from me, but my choices, my right to be the very best mother I had always been before and should have been able to continue to be, my safety, my sense of security, and myself,” she said. “I’ve never in my life met anyone so good at what he loves to do, and that is to prey on the vulnerable.”
In January 2020, a jury convicted Palms of the sex trafficking through the use of force, fraud and coercion; attempted obstruction of sex trafficking enforcement; and transporting an individual for prostitution.
During Palms’ four-day trial, the United States showed that he trafficked the victim in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Houston. Palms forced the victim to advertise on prostitution websites and book hotel rooms in her name, particularly in areas that were closer to higher paying, wealthier johns. He provided the money to advertise and book the rooms but did not allow his name to be associated with the activity in an effort to distance himself legally from the activity.
During the trial, Tulsa Police officer testified that he originally met the victim in November 2018 in Tulsa. The Vice officer answered an online advertisement for a “$100 Quick Visit” with the victim, which indicates a short prostitution visit. When the officer arrived, he noticed Palms at the bottom of the stairs watching him enter the hotel. Once with the victim, the officer identified himself and the two discussed the trafficking operation. The victim revealed that she did not willingly participate in prostitution.
The United States argued that the victim did not simply enter into a mutual agreement with Palms to participate in the sex trade as the defense contended. Prosecutors showed that Palms bragged about making money from selling women. They argued that Palms controlled the victim, the trafficking operations and the money he received from exploiting the victim. They stated that Palms was a “finesse pimp” who used charm to gain the victim’s trust and affection. Then later he began to use control, fear and violence to force and keep the victim in a life of prostitution. The victim described how Palms abused her, often strangling, beating, or holding a knife to her throat, when he was angry or she did not produce enough money.