MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s a case the Miami-Dade State Attorney says is sending a strong message about human trafficking and the consequences anyone can face if involved in it.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says three people are being held without bond and face life behind bars if convicted of charges tied to taking a 20-year-old North Carolina woman across state lines and forcing her to have sex.
The State Attorney said 25-year-old Jamil Graves and his brother Jaleel Graves and 20-year-old China Blount faces 17 different charges including human trafficking, battery, and kidnapping.
Fernandez Rundle told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that “Human trafficking is not going to be tolerated and we are going to find the perpetrators. Every victim must be protected in this community.”
Very thankful for our #EndHumanTrafficking Task Force partnership w/law enforcement agencies @MGPDFL @MiamiDadePD @MiamiBeachPD @MiamiPD @MiamiSpringsPD @CoralGablesPD @SDFLnews @DHSgov helping save our young victim. pic.twitter.com/mctffRdUeK
— Kathy Rundle (@KathyFndzRundle) June 21, 2019
She said those involved in such trafficking would be “put behind bars so they can not harm anyone again.”
A Miami Beach police officer was first alerted to this case when a distraught woman approached him in May and said she had been choked and was being forced to prostitute herself. A police report says that the officer contacted the State Attorney’s human trafficking unit.
The State Attorney said “These awful crimes originated in North Carolina when the suspects showed up at the victim’s residence. Jamil said they were going to court but instead they went to Atlanta.”
She said that’s where the victim was told she would have to prostitute herself and information about her was posted online on mega personals.com.
So that people could have sex with her.
“The trio later drove her to Miami in a stolen car and stayed in a Miami springs motel where they rented a room. During the day they would look for people to pay for sex with the victim,” said Fernandez Rundle.
“Jamil would get very aggressive with her and he would hurt her,” said the State Attorney.
A police arrest report said the victim reluctantly agreed to have sex with one person for money on Miami Beach. Fernandez Rundle said Jamil Graves choked her and threatened to kill her.
The State Attorney said the victim broke free of the trio and reported what happened to a Miami Beach officer before the arrests were made.
According to a police report, Graves and his accomplices all refused to speak with detectives. The report says Blount is a gang member. The report said that all three could eventually be extradited to North Carolina to face charges there as well.
The report also said the trio set a rate for the victim of $90 a half hour and $160 for an hour of sex.
The State Attorney said Florida ranks 3rd in the nation for human trafficking. She said Miami-Dade leads the state in that category.