Grand Rapids trafficking survivor speaks up, helps catch abuser

The Grand Rapids teen who was trafficked is a minor, but her majorly brave actions helped catch her "pimp."
Mackinac Bridge
Terrance Clay charged with human trafficking
Posted at 12:59 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-24 11:38:43-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Sheriff's Office of Human Trafficking Taskforce says a 16-year-old runaway from a Grand Rapids area group home was trafficked.

Terrance Clay, a 38-year-old man met the teenager at a Grand Rapids park, according to court documents, on October 21. Clay is facing six felony charges for the alleged abuse, including child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime, human trafficking and child sexually abusive material.

Clay was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Wednesday.

Terrance Clay charged with human trafficking

The trafficking survivor reported what was happening to her to the Kentwood Police Department, who brought on the Kent County Human Trafficking Taskforce as part of the investigation.

"The taskforce, it's a victim-centered approach. They partner with victim services, Salvation Army, to try to help break that cycle and walk alongside those victims," Sgt. Eric Brunner with the Kent County Sheriff's Office explained to FOX 17.

Kent County Detectives Huey and Stasiak interviewed the survivor.

The survivor initially told Clay she was 18 years old and had a sexual encounter with Clay. Clay then began providing the teenager with food, clothing, a place to stay and a cell phone, the survivor reported to detectives.

However, the teenager told detectives things quickly turned. Clay started threatening the teenager if she did not make $200 a day for sexual activities. The cell phone Clay gave to the girl was used to track her location.

The survivor says Clay told her how much to charge for oral sex and vaginal intercourse. She also told detectives Clay had advertised the cost of oral and vaginal sex, using the survivor's photos as the background.

Detectives say the teenager consented to search for her cell phones to help catch Clay. They found nude images of the 16-year-old.

October 31, just ten days after the survivor spoke out, Kent County Detective Goehring began a surveillance operation on Clay. November 12, Clay took the survivor from her home, which was discovered by detectives.

The survivor was reported missing. An eagle-eyed Mackinac Bridge Authority employee contacted police when Clay attempted to cross the bridge. The bridge employee reportedly saw the survivor in Clay's back seat huddled under a blanket. Clay was taken into custody.

Mackinac Bridge
File Photo

The crimes Clay is charged with are serious. He faces 20 years in prison for just one of his six felony charges.

Clay's next court date is set for December 7.

Since 2007 there have been thousands of reported human trafficking cases in Michigan.

Here's a look at some of the data from the Human Trafficking Hotline. The organization tracks these numbers based on the calls, texts, online chats, emails, and webforms they receive in reference to Michigan.

The most recent data we have is from 2020.

That year, the hotline reported 845 total contacts, 295 total cases and 258 calls from victims and survivors.

Since the year 2007, they've reported more than 7,400 contacts, roughly 2,100 cases and have identified nearly 5,000 victims.

That number is split between cases coded with either moderate or high indicators.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888 and it's completely confidential.

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