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Julie Ryan

Evil human trafficker Julie Ryan

Julie Ryan is the main villainess of "Merchandise", episode 12.04 of Law & Order: SVU (airdate October 6, 2010). She and Liam Ryan (his relation to her remaining unknown) were originally from Maryland, where they ran a family farm. After they lost said farm to foreclosure, the two moved to North Carolina, and later Florida; after they began living in the latter state, the pair turned heel and began buying both children and illegal immigrants so that they could work as slaves on the farms they operated. The Ryans additionally abused their slaves and forced the children to work as prostitutes in order to make extra money.

The villainous duo set up their business in Sarasota, but were eventually reported by their neighbors to the police. To avoid being caught, the evil Ryans killed their five child slaves by forcing them to drink cyanide-laced grape juice before fleeing. After their arrival in Wyandanch, New York, the two resumed their depraved lifestyle by leasing a farm (subsequently referring to said farm as Mission Farms) and employing at-risk children as their slaves. Furthermore, fellow human trafficker Victoria Reyes supplied the two with siblings Carly and Micah Holbart.

The members of the Special Victims Unit became involved with the Holbart siblings' predicament after Carly was fatally struck by a cab in the episode's opening minutes following her escape from the Ryans, with Micah pushing her into the vehicle's path out of fear of the abuse he and the other captives would face in retaliation of his sister's escape. Liam and Julie were then subsequently revealed as Carly and Micah's "owners" after Victoria was questioned at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, with the callous and greedy conspirator boasting about how she profited due to assisting their business.

After unearthing their criminal backstories, Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler went with Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine "Chris" Danielson to apprehend the Ryans before they could harm any of the kids they currently had. As they approached Mission Farms, however, they saw the Ryans approaching in a truck, having just finished poisoning their recently chained up victims. The detectives forced the pair off the road, with Stabler placing them under arrest while Benson went to rescue the children. With Julie and Liam's plans foiled, Danielson happily noted the irony of the villainous pair being placed in full body chains just like they did to their victims, and also mentioned that they immediately invoked their right to remain silent. Nevertheless, the Ryans were ultimately sentenced offscreen to life in prison without parole for kidnapping, slavery, and criminally negligent homicide.

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