Ten people face human trafficking charges after an alleged investigation showed one of them forced a teenage girl under their care into prostitution and the other nine paid to sexually assault her, according to state officials.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and other state agencies spent two years investigating this case and made arrests in five counties. Those arrested include an East Lake firefighter who lives in Spring Hill and a Hernando County restaurateur.
The investigation is ongoing and there more could be more arrests.
Officials said the accused trafficker was someone who had custody of the child, such as a parent or guardian. That person faces charges of human trafficking, conspiracy to commit human trafficking and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
The other nine arrested face those charges, and additional charges of lewd or lascivious battery. They are being held without bail at various county jails.
Officials allege the girl was a middle-teenager who was forced into being sexually abused for about six months.
The Sheriff’s Office said it received an anonymous tip in May 2017 about ads on the now-shuttered website Backpage featuring the girl. An undercover operation apparently led investigators to a Hernando County home where the teen victim lived with the accused trafficker.
The teen victim was taken to a safe house for juvenile victims of trafficking outside the area.
Investigators allegedly found that the accused trafficker posted the ads on Backpage and took money from clients, and sometimes left the girl with them overnight in other counties.
Child sex trafficking in Florida is taken very seriously, and anyone accused of this crime is facing very serious consequences. Some of the most sensitive sex crimes cases involve children, so if you have been accused of a federal sex trafficking offense of any kind, it is essential that you begin working with a Florida Human Trafficking Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We are prepared to begin launching a powerful defense strategy and do whatever it takes to defend your rights and your freedom in order to prove your innocence.
Sex crimes cases, such as human trafficking, are time sensitive. Before police start questioning you, you should secure legal representation so that you are aware of what you need to do to protect yourself. We stand ready to defend clients facing even the toughest felony charges in federal court. We will prepare you for dealing with federal agents and the U.S. attorney, and make sure everything you do protects your best interests.
If you are wrongfully convicted of sex trafficking, you could lose your freedom for the rest of your life. Let us help you. Call us today at 352-666-6666 or contact us online for a free consultation.
I have been to this office three different times and have not one complaint! Always prompt and on point. I wouldn't pick any other office! Rosemary Sanchez
Send us an email using the form below.
Boca Raton Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
3700 Airport Rd., Suite 401
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Naples Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2390 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102
Naples, FL 34103
Tampa/St. Petersburg Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
200 Central Ave., Suite 400
Tampa, FL 33629
Spring Hill Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
11020 Northcliffe Blvd
Spring Hill, FL 34608
Gainesville Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2441 NW 43rd Street
Gainesville, FL 32606
Toll Free Florida Statewide:Whittel & Melton, LLC
The information on this Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.