SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Targeted on social media, a woman from mid-Michigan was trafficked all the way to metro Detroit for the purpose of prostitution, according to state police.
The 21-year-old woman was found at a motel in Southfield and her accused trafficker was placed under arrest.
Michigan State Police say in the heart of Southfield at Marvin’s Gardens Inn, they rescued that missing woman from Lapeer, who was lured over the internet and forced into prostitution. The police say a tip from the missing woman’s family, who found her being advertised online, led them to the discovery.
“You can honestly walk around to most corners and find an underage girl,” said Lauren Bourne, who visited nearby on Monday.
7 Action News learned the suspect is at the Oakland County Jail Monday awaiting an arraignment. So far, the motel has declined comment.
Retired MSP Inspector Ellis Stafford shared a warning for families on what to look out for:
“If you’re a family member or loved one, all of a sudden this person is isolated from you, you no longer can speak to them and they no longer have a cell phone. Every time you want to talk with them, you have got to go through somebody," Stafford said.
An expert who works as a victim advocate for Common Ground also weighed in.
“A lot of things are promised in the beginning, which is pretty normal. Then once they get into the situation, it’s not what they think it is. Sometimes, it switches fast or it can take a couple weeks,” Allison Mercer said.
Her agency helps women start their lives over. She told us often, women are being threatened and left in fear.
“We cover eight counties, but we get a couple new referrals every week. Just walking out the door isn’t that easy. Their family and friends can be threatened. They have a fear if they do leave, something will happen to their loved ones,” Mercer said.
If you or someone you know is in danger or needs help, there are many resources available on the National Human Trafficking Hotline's website. You can call them at 1-888-373-7888.