The Athens-Clarke County police spearheaded a human trafficking investigation that led to the arrest of seven people and recovered two under-aged victims, according to an article in the Athens Banner-Herald.
The weekend investigation led authorities in Georgia and Florida to a motel in west Athens.
The two suspects who were arrested in Athens were identified as David Jaquile Freedom Hightower, 22, of Sandy Springs and Aaron Dimetre Staley of Covington, also 22. According to ABH, they were each charged with two counts of human trafficking, two counts of pimping a prostitute under 18 years old, and two counts of armed robbery.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department were acting on a call from someone in New York who said their 16-year-old relative contacted them and said she was being sold for sexual favors, the ABH reports. She told them she would be with her captors at Days Inn on North Finley Street, Lt. Jeff Clark, commanding officer of the Sex Crimes unit told the ABH.
Police went to the motel and found the girl and two of her alleged pimps, Clark said in the article. During the investigation officials learned another girl who was being prostituted left the motel in the company of additional suspects. They were possibly headed to Florida, according to police.
Athens-Clarke Police, along with assistance from the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, recovered the second juvenile and five more suspects were arrested. The suspects are now facing extradition to Athens, according to the article.
Sex Crimes Unit detectives were also assisted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Human Trafficking and the Athens-Clarke County Uniform Patrol Division.
“The officers and investigators were relentless in their efforts to apprehend these criminals, getting them off the streets before any further crimes could be committed against these juveniles and so that no other child is harmed,” Clark said to the ABH.
In October, a nationwide human trafficking sting run by the FBI resulted in charges against five men arrested in Gainesville, according to an article in the Gainesville Times. The operation resulted in the recovery of 149 underage trafficking victims and the arrest of 153 pimps nationwide.
The men allegedly offered money for sex to an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old, according to arrest warrants. Seven child victims were recovered in Georgia, according to the article.
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