NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A federal jury convicted a Nashville man in a sex-trafficking case involving a 12-year-old runaway.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 40-year-old Tavarie Williams was convicted Thursday after a week-long trial.
The jury found him guilty of sex trafficking a minor and transportation of a minor for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and criminal sexual activity. He was found not guilty on a third count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Investigators said Williams picked up the victim in San Antonio, Texas and posted ads online advertising her for prostitution. Williams took the girl to Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Officials said Williams also had sex with the victim.
In July 2016, authorities arrested him at a hotel in Franklin. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison.
CEO of End Slavery Tennessee, Margie Quin was the Special Agent in charge at the TBI when the case came out, she says she will never forget how young the victim was at the time.
"There are reports that suggest that the average age is between 12 and 14-years-old," said Quin, "The average age that we’re serving over at End Slavery Tennessee on the juvenile side is about 15 years of age, the youngest client we served in 2019 was 9-years of age."
Quin says runaways like the victim from 2016 are vulnerable in becoming victims to these types of crimes.
"Runaways are particularly vulnerable, and you hate to even call them runaways; sometimes they’re running from something and maybe there’s abuse in the house, there’s drug addiction in the house, there’s domestic violence in the house. "
The End Slavery Tennessee website has more information on detecting and preventing sex trafficking.