A federal grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, returned an indictment on March 8, charging a Tennessee man with sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. The indictment further charged that the defendant conspired with a Kentucky woman to commit that crime.

According to the indictment, between Aug. 8 and 11, 2022, Portier Q. Govan, 36, of Memphis, Tennessee, used force, threats of force and coercion to compel an adult woman to engage in commercial sex. The indictment also charges Govan and Brittany R. Howard, 24, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, with entering into an agreement to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion. 

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Govan made his initial court appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Kentucky today. Howard is expected to make her initial appearance later this week. If convicted of sex trafficking, Govan faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to life imprisonment. If convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, Govan and Howard face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. There is no parole in the federal system.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky, and Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office made the announcement.

The Bowling Green Police Department and the FBI Louisville Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda E. Gregory for the Western District of Kentucky and Trial Attorney Francisco Zornosa of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit are prosecuting the case.