TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Marteze Ravoine Clair, 27, and Erica Jade Cromartie, 23, with human trafficking in the first degree, leading organized crime, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and promoting prostitution in the second degree. Clair worked as a pimp, posting prostitution ads on Backpage.com in an attempt to sell women and underage girls for sex. Cromartie assisted Clair by recruiting girls, training them and collecting money. Last night, Clair and Cromartie were arrested at a Bremerton motel. They are scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. in room 270 of the County-City Building in Tacoma.
“Street gangs are moving into pimping to supplement their drug sales,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We are vigorously prosecuting these cases – particularly those involving underage girls. Eliminating human trafficking is one of the goals of our gang unit and our office.”
During a seven-month period, beginning in November 2013, Clair and Cromartie posted 226 prostitution ads on Backpage.com, promoting the services of multiple women and girls. Clair and Cromartie pocketed the money that the victims earned during each “date.” The girls were given drugs and threatened with violence. Clair is a well-known East Side Piru gang member.
The multi-agency investigation is ongoing and police are looking for more victims.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office