BY MEGAN GILLIS ,OTTAWA SUN
A Montreal man was convicted Wednesday of trafficking, beating and pimping out a vulnerable teen he’d forced to work the sex circuit until she was rescued by an Ottawa Police detective.
Jamie Byron is the first person convicted in Ottawa under human trafficking laws.
The charge of trafficking a person under 18 using violence carries a minimum of five years and maximum of 14 years behind bars.
The 23-year-old lured and forced the learning-disabled girl into prostitution, Judge Bonnie Warkentin found.
He threatened and intimidated her into having sex with strangers — more than 100 in the two months he moved her from city to city, she’d testify — and controlled every aspect of her exploitation, the judge said.
He told others he was her pimp, took the money she earned for himself and used violence to subdue her.
“Mr. Byron knew (the girl) was only 17 at the time,” Warkentin said.
He lured the Crown ward over Facebook from Windsor to Montreal in July 2011 with the promise of romance.
But when she arrived, he told her she’d be working for him and beat her when she refused.
She’d be punched, head butted and choked during the two months she worked the “known prostitution circuit.”
Prosecutor Julien Lalande had argued the girl, who “needs help to do just about anything,” was held by “invisible chains.”
Her story was backed up by “layer upon layer” of evidence at trial in May, including cell phone records that put Byron nearby, hotel bills that had him paying for rooms and escort ads placed in Montreal, Toronto, Barrie and Ottawa.
“I never say no,” said one.
“There is NOTHING I won’t do to please you,” said another.
Det. Shane Henderson got a tip that a 17-year-old girl was selling her body out of downtown Ottawa hotel.
He found an online ad using the same alias for a “petite package” with “bedroom eyes” posing in red lingerie and touting “no restrictions” on what she’d do for $200 an hour.
Henderson called pretending to be a john and quickly spirited the girl to safety at a shelter.
Byron called the charges “ridiculous,” testifying he knew the girl was a prostitute but didn’t profit from her tricks and just helped her out by booking rooms and giving her rides.
He’s back in court Sept. 6 to set a date for sentencing.