A Choctaw man who is an alleged well-known pimp is facing 10 charges of human trafficking after he was caught operating a large-scale human trafficking ring in the Oklahoma City metro.
According to reports, information from a confidential informant led to the arrest of 40-year-old Joel Willie French. The informant gave authorities tips that French had been running the sex trafficking operation in the OKC metro for years.
He apparently had five to seven women who were working for him.
The informant’s tips were corroborated through interviews with other people who had knowledge regarding the unfortunate situation.
Agents with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) placed the man under arrest and put him behind bars on December 1.
The investigation revealed that French would recruit women online. Reports state he would then prostitute them using fraud, deception, threat, force, or coercion.
French also secured apartment leases fraudulently for the women by providing fake information for the leases, including pay stubs and prior residence history.
The apartments, located throughout the OKC metro, are where men would meet the victims for sex acts. French placed ads online that advertised the victims’ services.
A multi-county grand jury indicted the man for the charges on December 18 after jurors listened to testimonies from French’s alleged victims.
According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said, “Human trafficking is a despicable criminal industry that is a growing threat in Oklahoma and around the world. It leaves lifelong psychological and physical toll on victims, if they are lucky enough to get out alive. This indictment will hopefully send a strong message that law enforcement isn’t going to tolerate this kind of activity in Oklahoma. I appreciate the thorough investigation by the OBN and the grand jurors who heard testimony on the case and returning the indictment. We look forward to presenting this case in court.”
In the press release, OBN Director Donnie Anderson also said, “I am extremely proud of the tireless work over the past several months by Agents within our Human Trafficking Unit to build this case against French and secure the safety of young women who were victimized within his organization. Human Trafficking is an insidious crime that often targets the innocent and vulnerable. My agency is committed to aggressively identifying and removing these predators and their organizations operating in our state.”
French, who is being held at the Oklahoma County Jail, is being charged with 10 counts of human trafficking for commercial sex. His bond was set at $1M, and he is scheduled to appear in court on January 20, 2021.