A Florida man has been sentenced for forcing a 20-year-old woman into “commercial sex” using physical violence and vile threats against the woman.
Henry Lee White, III, 27, Orlando, has been sentenced to 24 years and 4 months in federal prison for sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion and for possessing ammunition as a convicted felon.
As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered White to pay $87,121.98 in restitution to the female victim and to forfeit the electronic devices used in the commission of the offense. White had pleaded guilty on December 29, 2021.
According to court documents, from June 2020 through January 2021, White forced and coerced the woman to engage in commercial sex throughout the Middle District of Florida and Georgia. White used threats of violence and physical violence to control the 20-year-old woman. For example, in September 2020, White transported the victim to an “outcall” at an unknown apartment complex.
White became upset because he thought the woman was being deceptive about where she was going. White used his revolver to beat her. He then removed four of the five bullets from the revolver and played Russian Roulette with Victim 1 while holding the gun to her head and pulling the trigger.
The woman stated White did this about six or seven times. He then threw the woman’s phone at her face, causing a laceration on the center of her forehead in between her eyebrows.
During this time, the woman reached out to law enforcement and a local non-governmental organization for assistance. Law enforcement officers recovered the female victim during a joint undercover operation on January 7, 2021.
At the time the woman was recovered by law enforcement officers, she had an injury on her left knee that she sustained after White had thrown her to the ground in a hotel.
At the time of his arrest, White was found in possession of a chrome and burgundy semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine. The firearm had one round in the chamber and several live rounds in the magazine. White had previously been convicted of several felonies and was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.
During the course of his arrest, law enforcement officers located and seized several cellphones that had been used to communicate with commercial sex buyers and post advertisements of the woman on the internet.
“This predator used intimidation, humiliation, and violence to barbarically force his victim into submission,” said acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Silliman. “Thanks to the quick action of Homeland Security Investigations, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Tampa Police Department, and Selah Freedom, Henry White III became the first federal arrest for human trafficking under the auspices of the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force which was created in 2020.”
“Human trafficking is a crime that is nothing less than modern-day slavery, and escaping the wrath of a human trafficker takes courage. I commend the survivor who spoke up, allowing the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and our law enforcement partners to bring her trafficker to justice,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Through every undercover operation, I believe we are making a difference, one arrest at a time, and moving closer to our goal of ultimately eradicating human trafficking across Hillsborough County and the state of Florida.”
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tampa Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.