MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Grace Harris smiled, let out a cheer, and walked with a bounce in her step as she walked out of the Federal Court building minutes after she learned the man who caused her so much pain, would be locked away for a long time.
"I'm free now, I could do whatever I want," Harris said.
Harris's relief came after a federal jury convicted Terrence "T-Rex" Yarbrough on 10 counts of sex trafficking.
"This verdict sends a clear message that human trafficking will not be tolerated in the United States," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The defendant brutally exploited vulnerable young women and girls and deprived them of their rights and dignity so he could profit by selling their bodies. Securing justice on behalf of the victims of modern-day slavery is one of the highest priorities of the Civil Rights Division."
Harris met Yarbrough in high school, and they had four children together. Soon after, she says he forced her into prostitution and started beating her.
"I done took several beatings from him, throughout the pregnancies, everything." Harris said. "He intimidated us very, very much."
"The brutal and depraved acts that this individual inflicted upon these women are almost impossible to fathom," said Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. "The conviction of Yarbrough reiterates this office's firm commitment to bring sex traffickers to justice. Our office's dedicated civil rights unit will continue to prosecute these cases in order to protect the vulnerable and innocent victims of such crimes."
During the trial, victims accused Yarbrough of forcing them into prostitution, and once in, beating them with crowbars and padlocks, and burning them with irons and boiling water.
"Sex traffickers can be violent abusers or simply subtle manipulators who prey upon those whose circumstances of life make them vulnerable, and cruelly exploit their victims for profit," said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The FBI is committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable human traffickers for their crimes and get help for the victims in these heartbreaking cases."
Yarbrough was arrested in St. Louis in 2009 after a victim was able to get free. Investigators found a suitcase full of women's identification cards which led them to Memphis.
"I don't worry now, I know he's gone, thank you lord. I don't worry now," Harris said.
Yarbrough will be sentenced in April. He faces up to life in prison.