Police say they found missing teen -- and made 16 arrests -- during human trafficking investigation
Police say they found a missing teen -- and made 16 arrests -- during an undercover human trafficking and prostitution investigation.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police say they found a missing teen -- and made 16 arrests -- during an undercover human trafficking and prostitution investigation.
The investigation came even as the Farm Machinery Show was in town at the Kentucky Expo Center, according to police. LMPD says any time there is a big event in Louisville, there is a spike in prostitution and human trafficking.
"A lot of the out-of-town people come in and start hitting the social media sites to arrange a prostitution meeting," said Lt. Chuck Mann.
Wednesday night, police made 16 arrests, most of which involved prostitution charges --but two men face human trafficking and drug charges. Patrick Peterson was arrested at the Days Inn on Fern Valley Road. Lamair Seargent was arrested at the Days Inn on Blairwood Road.
"They definitely met the elements of human trafficking, through force, coercion and the use of withholding narcotics," Lt. Mann said.
Police say they were selling two females for sex and taking a cut of the money -- and that one of the females was a 17-year-old runaway whose identity is being withheld.
"It makes it worth it for all the manpower we put into it," said Mann.
Police say Seargent threatened to harm the children of one of his victims. Investigators say many prostitutes and human trafficking victims are held captive not just by threats, but by drugs.
"That was the circumstance in almost every instance last night, through their addiction through narcotics," said Mann.
Police say they found heroin hidden in Seargent's private area. And they say Peterson was trafficking pot. He faced a judge Thursday.
"The court finds this to be serious," said Jefferson District Judge Stephanie Burke. "I find you to be a danger to the community. The court is going to maintain the bond at $10,000 full cash."
Seargent is due in court Friday.
Police say the human trafficking victims will not be charged, but will be offered help.
"We look at it, it's not an arrest situation, but more of a rescue situation," said Mann.
Police say they have undercover operations like this throughout the year, not just when big events are in town.
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