TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge sentenced an Orlando man to more than 24 years in prison for sex trafficking a 20-year-old throughout Florida and Georgia, including in the Tampa Bay area.
The ABC Action News I-Team had exclusive access to an undercover operation in 2021, leading up to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, and was there when the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Henry Lee White, III, a convicted felon, with a handgun.
Officers also found cell phones used to communicate with sex buyers and to post sex ads online.
It was at a Tampa hotel where the task force, made up of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and anti-human trafficking nonprofits like Selah Freedom, rescued White's victim.
Federal court documents reveal White's older brother is currently serving a life sentence in a Florida state prison for trafficking the same victim when she was a juvenile.
Prosecutors say White "followed in his brother's footsteps" in 2020 when he repeatedly reached out to her on social media and targeted the victim, "knowing that she was vulnerable."
White then required her to get tattoos of his name and initials, controlled her by implementing rules with "johns" and made her give him all of the money, according to court documents.
The victim told law enforcement he "beat her often" and said at a Tampa hotel, White played Russian Roulette with her.
“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.”
White is sentenced to 24 years and 4 months in federal prison. He also must pay $87,121.98 to the victim.
If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline or call 1-888-373-7888. If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.