|Published:||Oct 28, 2013 5:53 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 28, 2013 6:05 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla -- Friday morning Lee County Deputies arrested a Houston man and charged him with human trafficking. Seab Williams is accused of taking a woman from state to state and selling her for sex.
An arrest report reveals the victim saw at least five clients while in Lee County over a two day period and that she was beaten by the suspect for allegedly not making enough money.
An alleged prostitution ring lead Lee County Deputies to the Travelodge Hotel off Daniels Parkway and I 75 Friday morning.
They found a female victim with several bruises on her arms and legs. She told investigators Seab Williams, 33, was her 'Pimp' and rented her a room at the Travelodge for her to prostitute out of. But, she told detectives, she didn't want to prostitute anymore and was trying to get out of the situation.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott says, "he was using her as nothing more than an object and it's unfortunate, it's also unfortunate there's a market for it out there but sex sells."
The report says the victim, "divulged that she has seen approximately five clients in the last few days and prostituted herself to all of them while in Lee County."
She went on to say, "the average cost is $150 per hour and that Williams takes all the money for himself and uses it to pay for their daily living costs."
Sheriff Scott says they work together closely with hotel owners, specifically those along the interstate to identify red flags and help officers crack these cases.
It's considered a crime hiding in plain sight because it's very difficult to detect victims of human trafficking.
"When there's a couple, a male and a female, checking into the room, obviously it's not a red flag. It's happening everyday and that's the business we're in to provide service to the people," says Darius Lukosaitis, the owner of the Travelodge on Daniels Parkway.
Hotel owners say a guest checking in with a local address ro one that pays for a room in cash are red flags. "Red flags are any kind of disturbance at the hotel. If there is traffic to the room more than normal, obviously we keep an eye on it," says Lukosaitis.
But, he says, even that might not be enough to call law enforcement.
"It's not our business to investigate people, but it's our business to keep our guests safe once they check in and we do have to vigilant and alert of what's happening," says Lukosaitis.
And since the latest case of human trafficking, he says he and his staff will be even more vigilant. "We're going to have our eyes wide open."
Alex Olivares, the Director of Human Trafficking at Catholic Charities says human trafficking is an ever growing problem in Southwest Florida, but one that is very difficult to detect.
"That's why they call it a crime that is hiding in plain sight because a lot of the victims are there and you can't really tell," says Olivares.
Olivares says while it's not always apparent when a couple checks into a hotel or goes out to dinner, there are signs to look for. "Look for little signs of things that make you think, ahh there's something wrong, signs of abuse, signs of fear, signs of anyone being around taking control of the person."
At Catholic Charities they hold classes explaining that it's likely you've come across someone who is being trafficked, but if you know what to look for and work together, it can be stopped.
"You have to work with law enforcement because they're the ones that can really rescue someone and they're the ones that can put the perpetrator behind bars," says Olivares.
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