An Elmhurst man was indicted by a Queens grand jury on child sex trafficking and other charges for bringing his 17-year-old girlfriend from Mexico and allegedly forcing her into having sex with strangers for cash for several years until she was able to escape, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Orlando Ramirez, 24, of 43rd Avenue, was arraigned Tuesday, Aug. 9, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Peter Vallone on a 13-count indictment charging him with two counts of sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a child, compelling prostitution, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
According to the charges, between Sept. 14, 2019, when the victim was 17 years old, through July 11, Ramirez forced the victim, who is his girlfriend and now the mother of his eleven-month-old child, to engage in prostitution on a nearly daily basis in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, and New Jersey. Ramirez allegedly took all the proceeds the victim earned from her prostitution activity.
According to the charges, when the victim refused to engage in the prostitution activity, the defendant became violent and threatened to kill her and her family back in Mexico. On July 11, after working the previous day engaging in prostitution acts and turning over the proceeds to Ramirez, she told him she wanted to leave him and stop engaging in acts of prostitution because she wanted a better life for herself and her child. Ramirez became angry and allegedly pushed her against a wall, placed his hand around her neck and applied pressure which impeded her normal breathing and caused a cut to her neck. As he continued to strangle her, he pulled out a kitchen knife and pointed it at the victim, and threatened her.
According to the charges, Ramirez allegedly hit the victim in the face with his sneaker, causing redness inside her eye. The victim managed to push herself away from him and attempted to flee the apartment but was allegedly stabbed by Ramirez in her leg, causing bleeding and a laceration. The knife broke into two pieces.
Katz said the victim was stabbed just before 2 a.m. and managed to escape from the shared apartment and ran to the 110th Precinct with her infant daughter. As Ramirez ran after the victim, he was apprehended in front of the precinct. The victim was taken to an area hospital for treatment of her wounds which required several stitches to the laceration to her leg.
A court-ordered search warrant was executed for the apartment and a broken knife, which was the one used by Ramirez, was recovered from a bedroom dresser and the handle was recovered on the floor.
“As alleged, the defendant subjected the victim to forced prostitution for his own financial gain,” Katz said. “Thankfully, this young woman was able to escape with the infant despite suffering through brutal acts of violence on her way out. Within the first six months of taking office, I created the Human Trafficking Bureau to combat this very type of scenario. The defendant is now in custody and has been indicted on serious criminal charges.”
Justice Vallone ordered the defendant to return to court on Sept. 12. If convicted, Ramirez faces up to 25 years in prison.