One of Portland's most notorious pimps is now out of prison and opening up about the crimes that lead to his arrest.
Mark Miles was arrested after he flew his girlfriend Ivanice Harris from Portland to Hawaii to engage in prostitution. Harris was murdered by a client on that 2013 trip.
Miles is now sharing his story to inspire others to get out of that lifestyle.
Miles says he's a changed man who's now on a mission to change others. He says if he knew then what he knows now he never would have gotten into the sex trafficking business.
There was no one event that lead Miles down a path of crime. Rather a lifestyle he says that began as far back as he can remember.
"I went to federal prison when I was young and in prison I hung around a lot of pimps, a lot of dudes that were involved in sex trafficking," said Miles. "I learned a lot from them, the gangs you know, it is almost like a gateway to other criminal activity."
Miles says after his first stint in prison he became a pimp. He looked at it as easy money. At his height in the business, Miles says he was running seven girls at a time.
"It turned me into someone I wasn't, it turns good people bad and it turns bad people worse so it consumes you like a fire, that's mostly what it did. That's that lifestyle," Miles said. "You build a foundation on the lifestyle and then you're entrapped in it and you have to keep up the lifestyle."
That mentality propelled Miles to sell women for sex all over the state. Women like Ivanice Harris.
"Ivy was not just one of my girls, I had love for her, she was a loved one," Miles said.
On any given trip out of town, Miles says he and Harris made more money than some make in a year.
"Probably $40,000 to $50,000, you know, enough to come back and buy jewelry, clothes, a Mercedes for me and Ivy and just buy it like cash up front," Miles said. "It was so much money I had to get a money counter because I didn't want to sit down and count it all."
But, that lifestyle all came crashing down in May 2013 when Miles, Harris and another woman decided to go to Hawaii. Partly for Harris' birthday but also for business.
"While we were out there one night, they went out and she never came back. We went searching for her, we put out fliers, but she was missing," said Miles.
Harris' body was found days later in a remote area on the island. She had been murdered by a client.
"It crushed me, I went to a dark place," said Miles.
Months later, Miles was indicted on federal charges for taking Harris out of state to engage in prostitution. In prison, he hit rock bottom.
"It was an ongoing process, you know, lots of late nights, nightmares, cold sweats, rough ones, tears, it was a struggle," he added. "I'm not going to sugar coat nothing, I was deep into the lifestyle a lot more than a lot of other people, but what I went through was so devastating. Ultimately it was something when I finally sat down and looked at it, I felt like something needed to change."
A change, he says that came behind bars and one that he raps about now that he's on the outside.
Miles now considers himself a different kind of boss. To him, that word now stands for "busy out saving souls."
"I wanted people to see a different type of boss, I follow the boss of all bosses and that's Jesus Christ," said Miles.
Miles walks the streets of Portland looking for old friends, enemies even, asking them to change their ways.
"A lot of people know me, so I can say, 'hey you know who I am, I've been through where you guys are and I've changed,' and I tell them what helped me to change and I tell them this is not their purpose."
The ex-pimp also helped launch a website with his fiancée to help survivors of sex trafficking and to raise awareness about the dangers of the business. They named it Ivy's Angels.
"I feel like I couldn't save Ivanice, so I think that me being able to save somebody, or help change lives, you know, is a plus. It's like she didn't die in vain," Miles said.
There's no way to change the past, but Miles says he's focused on making a difference in the future. For that he thinks Harris would be proud.
"I wish I knew then what I know now, I would just tell her that I'm sorry and that I love her and I'd tell her I'm going to change the world."
The Harris family declined to comment on this story, other than to say: "Rest in love Ivy."
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