Dozens arrested in metro sex trafficking stings - - The News for South Mississippi

Dozens arrested in metro sex trafficking stings

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The FBI asked local agencies to help them round up underage prostitutes and human traffickers.

The operation was geared towards finding children who were forced into prostitution and gathering information on pimps in the Jackson metro area, according to the Jackson Police Department.

Jackson, the Ridgeland Police Department and Rankin County Sheriff's Department all took part in the operation last week.

The stings in Jackson took place at different hotels on the Interstate 55 corridor. Eight people were arrested.

Two men -- Square Jefferson, 24, and Gerald Knight, 25 -- were charged with aiding and abetting prostitution, or pimping, which is a felony. Based on the information gathered federal charges could be filed on several individuals, according to JPD.

Four others were charged with prostitution, including a 17-year-old girl. Two others were charged with possession of cocaine.

The stings in Ridgeland took place at the Holiday Inn Express on the I-55 Frontage Road and at the Econo Lodge on Ridgewood Road.

Twelve people were taken into custody, including four people arrested for promoting prostitution. They include Adrian Harris, 26, Travis Minor, 29, Jasmine Taylor, 20, and Randy Roberts, 29. They are all from Jackson.

Ridgeland Police Lt. John Neal says Taylor and a woman with her, who was charged with prostitution, both had children with them at the time.

"Each of them had their two small children with them. There was one that was four years old, the other that was two years old in the car while her mother was up offering services," Neal said.

Neal says the children were released to family members, and the Department of human Services will follow up.

Neal said those charged with prostitution were from across the country.

"In some follow up interviews with some that were arrested, we had some from as far away as California that were arrested, some from Georgia that were here, we had several local girls from the Jackson area as well as other parts of Mississippi," Neal said.

Neal says a few seemed to part of a prostitution ring. Other seemed to operate on their own.

Rankin County made 14 arrests including three for promoting prostitution. The three men accused of promoting prostitution are Christopher Armstrong, 28, James Williams, 27, and William Toliver, 37.

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