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A phone call put sex-trafficker in prison

A Medford hotel employee's 911 call last November has led to more than 11 years in prison for a Klamath Falls man who coerced a woman into prostitution, along with a new life for the victim and her daughter.

Javieon Martell Drum, 28, was sentenced to 140 months in prison Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court after pleading no contest to human-trafficking and coercion charges tied to a commercial sex enterprise that spanned several states and was based in Southern Oregon.

In court, the victim said "there's no fair sentence" for what Drum put her through. She said Drum threatened to hurt her daughter to coerce her into commercial sex acts, which Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook said spanned several states. 

"Why did our well-being mean so little?" the victim said in a statement before closing by saying she's determined to teach her daughter "how to stay away from lazy and manipulative cowards like you."

Ahmanda P. Parke of Klamath Falls, a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced July 5 to five years of probation after pleading guilty to a felony count of promoting prostitution.

Investigation into the case began after a concerned hotel employee called 911, according to Medford police Det. James Williams.

"The victim in this case had fled her trafficker and came to Medford as a place of refuge," Williams said. "The trafficker followed her here, and there was a little bit of a disturbance that resulted in law enforcement showing up."

The hotel incident, however, first introduced the victim to police. Williams said he understood the victim took big risks and she needed investigators to follow through.

"The ramifications in that world of being a commercial sex victim is that if you talk you get beat," Williams said. "For that victim to talk to us, to be able to let us know what's going on, and then have the courage to show up in court and be able to express that in the courtroom, it's awesome."

Through the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, police were able to corroborate the victim's statements, seizing numerous electronic devices and finding online ads that showed a consistent "branding" from Southern Oregon into areas of Washington and Montana.

The victim said that the eight months since she escaped from human trafficking have been difficult for her and her daughter, which included bouts of homelessness and couch-surfing, but today they have a stable place to live and are both enrolled in school.

Human trafficking survivor and advocate Rebecca Bender said her 16-week program, known as "The Initiative," helped the victim take her first steps away from the commercial sex trade, connecting her to community resources and providing emotional assistance.

"There are people out there who want to help," Bender said. "We don't believe the stigmas that maybe the trafficker has made them feel — like they're less-than, or no one will love them and that they're their only source of resources. Our community is actually pretty equipped with ways to assist them in turning their life around."

Among topics Bender's program addresses for human-trafficking victims are learning to work through post-traumatic stress, and what Bender described as "how to be normal again," such as how to make friends and how to answer common questions, such as "Where are you from?" when a survivor's recent past doesn't lend itself to small talk.

"We just really help them learn to dream again, and then take some tangible steps backwards," Bender said.

Williams encouraged people to be on the lookout for women being trafficked and to "speak up" by calling police.

"That's what generated this particular call. Somebody spoke up, and they actually notified law enforcement," Williams said.

 — Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Javieon Martell Drum