By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
MUSKOGEE, OK -- Muskogee Police tell The News On 6, 35-year-old Ronnie Presley has been arrested in Muskogee. Earlier this week, federal prosecutors charged Presley in one of the country's largest human sex-trafficking cases. Tulsa-area advocates say the arrest of sex ring suspect Ronnie Presley is a reminder that child sex trafficking is real. And, it's happening in our backyard.
A Tulsa couple is saying enough is enough and they're rallying thousands to join their cause.
"These defendants are charged with effectively turning 16 and 17-year-old children into indentured sex slaves," said U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson.
And, the man accused of selling sex with teenagers in Houston modeling studios and massage parlors was arrested in Oklahoma.
"This is something we knew was happening. But, to have it exposed like this is encouraging because more people will catch on," said Jason Weis with Stop Child Trafficking Now.
Weis and his wife, Kristin, are with Stop Child Trafficking Now, an organization dedicated to the eradication of child sex trafficking. And, they say one of their biggest battles is convincing others that this is not just a problem in third world countries.
"Between a 100,000 and 300,000 children currently, right now in our own country are being prostituted, and sold, and bought for sex in our own country," said Jason Weis with Stop Child Trafficking Now.
Kristin Weis points to the recent headlines out of California where a woman abducted from her home at the age of 11 was forced into 18 years of sexual slavery.
"It fuels us. It sets a fire inside of us. And, this is why we're doing what we're doing for these stories," said Kristin Weis with Stop Child Trafficking Now.
Stop Child Trafficking Now wants to raise money to pay for special ops teams that would infiltrate child sex rings.
"We have to go after the buyers and the sellers. They're the ones who are fueling this horrific abuse of our children. So, we have to go after them," said Jason Weis with Stop Child Trafficking Now.
They say for every Ronnie Presley arrested for selling a young girl, there's a nameless, faceless buyer who paid for her.
"What about the buyers of these kids? We're still not hearing about the arrests on the buyers. He was a seller. Where are the ones buying our children? That's who we want to get," said Kristin Weis.
Tulsa will join 50 cities and 200 college campuses next month in a walk to Stop Child Trafficking Now. It's September 26th at the Jenks Riverwalk. They hope to raise about $25,000 from the Tulsa community.
In a news release, Muskogee Police say officers from their department and the FBI arrested Presley, Treylise Presley and Varon Jabarr Sutton at a home in the 1600 block of Beaver Road.
Presley, four other men and a woman are charged in a 16-count indictment in federal court in Houston, Texas which claims they forced female children and adult women to become sex slaves.
News Release From Muskogee Police Department...
On Friday, August 28, 2009, at approximately 12:30PM, The Muskogee Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, Muskogee Police Special Investigations Unit, & The Muskogee Police Special Operations Team, as well as the F.B.I. & Muskogee County District Attorney's Office, served a Felony Fugitive Warrant at "1604 Beaver Rd." in Muskogee. The federal warrant was originated from "Operation Total Exposure" out of Houston TX.
Ronnie PRESLY, (35) - "607 N. Estelle - Wichita, KS" was arrested without incident on a Federal Warrant for Conspiracy, (3) Counts of "Sex Trafficking of Children" & (3) Counts of "Transportation of Minors."
Treylise E. PRESLEY, (39) - "2310 Oklahoma St. - Muskogee" was arrested without incident on a Muskogee County Warrant for "Failure to Pay on Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute."
Varon Jabarr SUTTON, (23) - "503 N. 24th St. - Muskogee" was arrested without incident on a Muskogee City Warrant for "No Security Verification."