Care for victims begins as prostitution ring is busted in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Experts say the prostitution ring busted on January 24 is a textbook case of human trafficking. The perpetrator has been arrested, and it's time to take care of the victims.
"The definition of human trafficking is using force, fraud or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex," said Anna Nalle, the founder of Transformation Freedom Initiative in Charlottesville.
That's exactly what Brian Lamont Turner is accused of doing.
"It sounds like the perpetrator developed a relationship by offering to provide drugs that these women were seeking,'" she said.
"People may think that 'They're just a drugged-out prostitute, how's that human trafficking? Well, the big deal is that this person, the offender, whoever the trafficker was preyed upon a vulnerability," Albemarle County Special Units Detective Michael Schneider said.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Attorney General Jason Miyares says it’s going to take a cooperative effort to stop it.
"One of the things we were very proud of as well as we worked with Governor (Glenn) Youngkin to set up really the first victim-witness protection program in Virginia," said Miyares.
The victims in these types of cases are often the most vulnerable people: homeless, those with mental health issues, and those who have already been abused in some way. That’s a big reason why Miyares says caring for the victim in a situation like this is so important.
"We talk about quiet heroes sometimes. These victims, for them to go forward and be in a courtroom with a bunch of strangers and reliving some very traumatic moments of their lives your heart just breaks for them," Miyares said.