More details released in weekend prostitution bust in Oxford
The Oxford Police Department released additional information Tuesday about the weekend’s prostitution bust.
On Monday, Santana Hervey was formally charged with promoting prostitution and had her bond set at $5,000. Three other individuals were charged with misdemeanor prostitution. All four individuals were arrested Friday as part of a joint effort to identify and rescue human trafficking victims, dubbed Innocence Lost Nationwide Initiative.
OPD, along with local branches of both the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Attorney General’s office, worked jointly on the case, along with the Oxford and Lafayette Metro Narcotics Unit. During the investigation it was discovered that appointments were being made through an online site and the encounters were made at local hotels at a pre-arranged date and time.
Of particular concern was the possibility that minors could be involved.
‘“I want to emphasize the fact that this type of criminal activity brings more crime with it. We have documented cases that connect some of these people to narcotic activity, robbery and assault,” siad Oxford Police Chief Joey East. “So often in cases of prostitution you will find human trafficking victims who are under the age of 18. We want to make sure that is not happening in Oxford.”
All four of the females arrested are adults; however, this event was part of a larger mission to identify and rescue both child and adult victims of human trafficking.
“Investigating human trafficking is one of the FBI’s top priorities,” said Donald Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Our targets are those who prey on vulnerable adults, children, males, and females, and force them into trafficking for sex. Prostitution is a heinous crime that goes hand in hand with violent criminal activities, and is also one of the many avenues for human trafficking.
“Our goal is to rescue the victims, to let them know that they have a place to turn for help. Our partnership with the Oxford Police Department, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, and the Oxford-Lafayette Metro Narcotics Unit this weekend is a great example of an effective, collaborative law enforcement effort to address this fast-growing criminal activity here in Mississippi.”