ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta police say an undercover prostitution sting led them to a teenager being held against her will in a human trafficking operation.
Police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they responded to an ad on the website “Backpage.com” and an undercover detective met a woman at a hotel off Mansell Road.
An incident report said the hotel cooperated with law enforcement and allowed them to conduct the undercover sting at the property.
“The female offered to solicit services to the male for cash,” said Officer George Gordon.
After detectives detained the woman, Gordon said they discovered she was a 17-year-old high school student being held against her will.
“When questioning this female she stated she was staying in another hotel,” he said. “She had been driven here from the state of North Carolina.”
Gordon said officers tracked down her alleged pimp, Jamar Girley, of Marietta, and his girlfriend, Natasha Otero, of Bessemer City, North Carolina.
“We’re investigating did he drive up there and bring them here? He had full knowledge of bringing them across state lines to conduct prostitution work. That is human trafficking,” said Gordon.
Otero and Girley remained in the Fulton County jail Tuesday afternoon facing several charges each. Police released the teenager to her mother without charging her.
“It’s troubling,” said Gordon.
Whitney Bexley, with the Norcross-based non-profit “Street Grace” told Petchenik this case is a text book example of the problem her organization is trying to fight.
She said Atlanta is a hotbed of this kind of activity because of its geographic location.
“You can travel a long distance in a short period of time,” she said.
Bexley said many times victims of child sex-trafficking don’t realized they’re being exploited.
“A lot of times these kids identify with their pimps…as their family or their pimp is their boyfriend or the person who has shown them comfort, given them food, shelter, security, clothing,” she said. “Sometimes these kids have been brainwashed.”
Bexley said her organization is trying to stop both the supply of children and the demand from those who exploit them.
“A lot of times these folks don’t know or care that it’s a child they’re purchasing. They’re just looking to purchase sex,” she said.
Cox Media Group