Pinellas authorities: human trafficking ring busted - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Pinellas authorities: human trafficking ring busted

Posted: Updated:
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says Pinellas County authorities have broken up a human trafficking ring where young women were forced into prostitution.

"It is modern day slavery and we have got to change the focus on how we think about prostitution and that's what this case is about," Bondi said. "These women are victims and if you're out there and you've been involved in this case, you know who you are. Please come forward. Law Enforcement is here to protect you and to help you."

Pinellas County authorities arrested 41-year-old Peter Kitt and 42-year-old Shawn Franklin after an investigation into illegal activity that began in June of 2012.

Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway said the men would recruit young women at local strip clubs. They would then get them hooked on drugs, and beat them in order to force them into prostitution.

Holloway said the young women were also frequently sexually assaulted by the suspects. He added they are treating the women involved in the case as victims.

"We look at the whole picture now, instead of just focusing on, you're a prostitute," he said. "We look at, why are you prostituting? And that's again, when with all of the agencies in the area, we start training officers on these questions to ask these women when we take them into custody."

Police say the suspects face a variety of charges related to the investigation. They are held on $1 million bond each.

"Florida is a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking, and any individuals engaged in this abhorrent crime will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Bondi said.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Child porn found on Plant City church computer, youth group volunteer arrested

    Child porn found on Plant City church computer, youth group volunteer arrested

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:48:24 GMT
    Jay Howell Bloodworth, 28, was charged with 2 counts of possession of child pornography. Polk Co Jail booking photoJay Howell Bloodworth, 28, was charged with 2 counts of possession of child pornography. Polk Co Jail booking photo
    A Plant City church youth group volunteer is charged with possession of child pornography after church staff told police they discovered images of child pornography on a church computer.Polk County Sheriff's Office Computer Crimes detectives on Wednesday arrested Jay Howell Bloodworth, 28, of Lakeland in connection with the crime.Detectives say Bloodworth is an active member of the Church on the Rock and is a volunteer with the youth group which includes 30 to 40 juveniles under the age of 18...
    A Plant City church youth group volunteer is charged with possession of child pornography after church staff told police they discovered images of child pornography on a church computer.Polk County Sheriff's Office Computer Crimes detectives on Wednesday arrested Jay Howell Bloodworth, 28, of Lakeland in connection with the crime.Detectives say Bloodworth is an active member of the Church on the Rock and is a volunteer with the youth group which includes 30 to 40 juveniles under the age of 18...
  • Complaints of sexual activity in parks lead to 2 arrests in Lakeland

    Complaints of sexual activity in parks lead to 2 arrests in Lakeland

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:37:46 GMT
    Left to right: Hazelton Crawn, 62, and Jose Javier Martinez, 54, were arrested. Jail booking photosLeft to right: Hazelton Crawn, 62, and Jose Javier Martinez, 54, were arrested. Jail booking photos
    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is warning people not to have sex in parks.  The warning came after the sheriff's office received complaints. The sheriff's office sent undercover detectives to Lakeland's Saddle Creek Park, they wound up arresting two men.
    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is warning people not to have sex in parks.  The warning came after the sheriff's office received complaints. The sheriff's office sent undercover detectives to Lakeland's Saddle Creek Park, they wound up arresting two men.

  • Tuesday primary election will determine some local races

    Tuesday primary election will determine some local races

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:35 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:35:12 GMT
    Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia CommonsPhoto Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
    Tuesday's primary election will be the final decision on some races across the Tampa Bay region.Although primaries are often thought of as precursors to the general election, some contests won't make it that far.
    Tuesday's primary election will be the final decision on some races across the Tampa Bay region.Although primaries are often thought of as precursors to the general election, some contests won't make it that far.
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.