Human Trafficking On The Rise In South Florida

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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that seven people are behind bars, accused in several separate, unrelated human trafficking cases.

Prosecutors said these cases are becoming more and more prevalent in the South Florida community.

Jakeara Peak, 20, and Alexander Brown, 33, were arrested Wednesday for prostituting a 16-year-old girl on Miami Beach. She came down with friends from Vero Beach, met Brown and was invited back to his hotel room. Inside, police said Brown and Peak began grooming her for a life as a prostitute.

In court, prosecutors revealed the young victim was forced to pay off a $2,500 debt.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said since her office opened its human trafficking unit in 2012, they’ve built more than 400 cases.

“The selling of woman and children by modern slavers into a life of constant abuse and pain,” she said. “They are dehumanized. They are beaten and they drugged into submission.”

On Thursday, prosecutors laid out five other arrests, outlining horrific details in separate incidents.

“In one case, the victim was as young as 16 years old. In another case, the victim was brutally beaten in front of her 18-month-old baby,” said Fernandez Rundle.

She also mentioned a case where an out-of-state woman was told she was going to Disney World, only to wind up forced into prostitution in Miami.

“They lured her to Miami where they forced her to have sex,” said the state’s top prosecutor, who added that these suspects are preying on some of the most vulnerable in the community and forcing them into desperate acts.

“It is primarily our local girls and boys. Runaways or throwaways,” Fernandez Rundle said. “Usually always running away from some sort of abuse and neglect in their own homes.”

In similar but unrelated incidents, 23-year-old Juan Carlos Carrat and 56-year-old Michael Anthony Miller face several charges including Human Trafficking and profiting from prostitution. Carrat was also charged with Battery. Miller was also charged with False Imprisonment.

Investigations continue into these cases.

If you know someone who may be a victim of human trafficking, contact the state attorney’s human trafficking unit at (305) 547-0749.

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