BALTIMORE — A 26-year-old man has been convicted on federal charges of sex trafficking a child and using the internet to promote a prostitution business.
A federal jury convicted Ryan Russell Parks, a.k.a. Dinero, for two counts of sex trafficking a minor and one count of using the internet to promote a prostitution business on Thursday, following a four-day trial.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Parks trafficked two vulnerable minors, a 16-year-old girl (Girl 1) and a 15-year-old girl (Girl 2). According to the trial testimony, Parks met Girl 1 and offered her a place to stay. He then sent a car to pick up the 16-year-old and within a day caused advertisements to be posted on a website that marketed commercial sex workers.
The advertisements contained photographs and descriptions of Girl 1 and offered her for commercial sex acts.
According to the evidence presented at the trial, Parks paid for additional advertisements on the website offering her for commercial sex between August 1, 2017 and August 2, 2017. The trial testimony states that Parks would stay with her in a motel room along with another woman he was advertising and would leave the room for short periods of time while men would come in and have sex with her. One of her customers returned to the room the next day to rescue her, and he took her to live in a different city with his sister.
In November 2017, Parks met the 15-year-old girl online and learned that she had run away from her foster home. On November 16, he paid a driver to pick her up and bring her to his home.
Girl 2, who was 15 years old, told Parks that she was 17 years old, in foster care, and was in an unhappy situation. Parks provided her with marijuana and had sex with her. He talked to her about making money through prostitution, and he took her to the same motel in Baltimore where Parks had harbored Girl 1. Because she had run away from her foster home without a coat, a purse, or change of clothing, Parks purchased a bra, panties, and condoms for the 15-year-old.
Parks then took photographs of her using his cellphone and paid for an online advertisement offering her for commercial sex.
Parks offered the 15-year-old girl for commercial sex from November 16 through Nov. 20, 2017. During this time, more than 300 individuals contacted the phone number placed by Parks on the advertisement, to inquire about commercial sex with her.
According to the trial testimony, on Nov. 21, 2017, she contacted her foster care social worker, who dispatched police to the motel.
Parks looked over her phone while the girl was in the shower and saw that she had contacted her social worker. This caused him to become angry, telling the 15-year-old to delete the information from her phone. He then left the motel and she went to the lobby and turned herself in to police.
While law enforcement was investigating the trafficking of the two minor victims, they discovered evidence regarding the extent of Parks’ prostitution business. Following an investigation, they found from February 2017 to January 2018, Parks paid more than $1,000 for approximately 295 commercial sex advertisements placed on the Internet.
He also advertised approximately 27 different women and girls for commercial sex and paid over $6,000 for hotel rooms in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
As a result of his conviction, Parks will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Parks faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for each of the two counts of sex trafficking a minor, and a maximum of five years in prison for using the Internet to promote a business enterprise involving prostitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Ryan Parks preyed on vulnerable girls in order to profit by selling them for sex. When an adult profits from sex with a child, that is human trafficking, period,” said Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Through the Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force and the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, local, state, and federal law enforcement partners are working with non-profit organizations to help human trafficking victims and prosecute the traffickers. Working to end human trafficking is a priority for the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office.”