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Modern Slavery, a different kind of slavery without locked doors

❮❮ Our News 6 arrested by Richland Sheriff Department in human trafficking case

6 arrested by Richland Sheriff Department in human trafficking case

Six Columbia residents have been arrested in a human trafficking investigation by the Richland County Sheriff's Department in the first such case handled by the State Grand Jury.
Sheriff Leon Lott and Attorney Gen. Alan Wilson announced Wednesday the following suspects, all from Columbia, were indicted by the State Grand Jury on Dec. 9:
▪ Trevonta Matthews, 23, who was charged with four counts of trafficking in persons, one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor
▪ Jayla Riley, 20, who was charged with three counts of trafficking in persons and one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons
▪ Juliesya Williams, 24, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons, one count trafficking in persons and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor
▪ Curtaris Dickerson, 21, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons
▪ Kayla McCoy, 20, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons
▪ Michael Salley II, 22, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking in persons
The suspects operated in Lexington, Richland, Orangeburg and Aiken counties, and were forcing minors into prostitution, Lott said. Using the State Grand Jury, Richland investigators were able to pursue the case across county lines. This case is the first human trafficking investigation handled by the State Grand Jury, the sheriff added, because the grand jury only recently was given the ability to consider such cases.
“This case is very significant,” Lott said. “I hope it sends a message to those out there in our community and throughout the state that we’re not going to stand by – we’re not going to tolerate this.”
Allowing agencies to pursue trafficking cases across county borders also is sensitive to victims by not forcing them to repeat their experiences to multiple agencies, the attorney general said.
Officials declined to say how many victims were involved.
The sheriff’s department worked with the U.S. Marshals Office in the investigation.
The maximum sentence is 15 years in prison for conspiracy to traffic in persons and trafficking in persons. Defendants can be sentenced to an additional 15 years if a trafficked victim was under the age of 18 when the crime occurred, according to the sheriff’s department.
Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor is punishable by up to three years in prison or a fine of $3,000.



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