February 28, 2013
LANSING - Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the arrest of Jackie Robinson Harris, 35, of Auburn Hills, who was charged by his Human Trafficking Unit on allegations of human trafficking for sexually exploiting a 16-year old girl from Southeast Michigan by recruiting her to work as a prostitute. The charges result from an investigation by the Michigan State Police and the FBI through the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force (SEMCAC).
"Human traffickers are luring Michigan children into dangerous situations where they will be sexually exploited," said Schuette. "Our daughters, friends, and neighbors are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and other forced labor by criminals who take advantage of them. Recruiting children to work as prostitutes is illegal, reprehensible and we will not tolerate it."
"Those who engage in human trafficking and child prostitution will be vigorously pursued and prosecuted," said Robert D. Foley III, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit Division. "The SEMCAC Task Force is committed to stopping predatory crimes and ensuring the safety of children."
"The Michigan State Police is committed to working with our federal and local law enforcement partners involved with the SEMCAC Task Force to combat human trafficking in the State of Michigan," said Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Edward Price. "Human trafficking is a horrific crime and perpetrators who commit these acts of violence will be sought out and brought to justice."
Jackie Harris is accused of recruiting a 16 year-old Pontiac girl to work as a prostitute in Southeast Michigan. Harris allegedly enticed the girl into helping run the prostitution ring before he later sent her to work as a prostitute.
Under Michigan law, recruiting a minor for the purposes of sexual exploitation is human trafficking. According to the Department of Justice, 40 percent of human trafficking cases involve the sexual exploitation of a child.
Schuette filed the following criminal charges against Jackie Robinson Harris in Pontiac's 50th District Court on December 12, 2012:
One count of Human Trafficking - Recruiting a Minor for Child Sexually Abusive Activity, a 20-year felony;
One count of Prostitution - Transporting a Female, a 20-year felony;
One count of Prostitution - Accepting Earnings, a 20-year felony; and,
One count of Criminal Enterprises - Acquire/ Maintain (Racketeering), a 20-year felony.
Harris was arrested in Warren on February 27, 2013 by the Michigan State Police with assistance from the Warren Police Department. Harris is expected to be arraigned on the charges at 1:30PM on February 28, 2013 in Pontiac's 50th District Court.
Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, after drug trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are in bondage through force, fraud or coercion, solely for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation. Children are especially vulnerable. According to the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2,515 incidents of human trafficking were recorded nationwide between January 2008 and June 2010. Of those incidents, 1,016 involved the sexual exploitation of a child, 1,218 involved the sexual exploitation of adults, and 350 involved labor trafficking.
The Michigan law banning Human Trafficking (MCL 760.462a, et seq.) went into effect on August 24, 2006. The law was strengthened in 2010, with those changes taking effect on April 1, 2011. Updates to the law included: adding human trafficking to the list of predicate offenses that fall under the state racketeering law, authorizing additional court-ordered restitution for trafficking victims, and stronger penalties.
Since its launch in 2011, Schuette's Human Trafficking Unit has secured five human trafficking convictions, with cases against four additional defendants currently pending.
For more information on how to identify and report human trafficking, visit the Attorney General's website, www.michigan.gov/humantrafficking.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.