Skip to main content

Second Allegan Co. Defendant Sent to Prison Following Human Trafficking Plea

LANSING - The second of two defendants who pleaded guilty to felony human trafficking will serve prison time, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today. 

Robert Grigsby and Vanessa Phillips previously pleaded guilty to one count of human trafficking, forced labor resulting in commercial sexual activity. Grigsby was sentenced earlier this month

Monday morning, Allegan County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Bakker sentenced Phillips to prison for 38 months to 15 years, as well as costs and fees. The sentence includes a credit of 147 days served. 

"My office will continue to investigate and hold accountable anyone who tries to exploit vulnerable individuals for profit," Nessel said. "We appreciate our local partnerships with agencies like the Wayland Police Department that make it possible to pursue these cases." 

Last year, the Department of Attorney General worked alongside Wayland Police to charge Grigsby and Phillips for conducting a criminal enterprise comprised of prostitution and sex trafficking of numerous women in Grigsby's home in Wayland, and other locations throughout the greater Grand Rapids area.  

Wayland Police first began investigating in October 2018.  

"Through law enforcement collaboration, criminal enterprises that choose to set up in small towns can still be brought to justice," Wayland Police Chief Mark Garnsey said. "I believe this is the result the citizens of Wayland have been waiting for. Thanks to the Human Trafficking Task Force, consisting of the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police and the FBI,we were able to bring a great resolution to this case." 

Nessel's Human Trafficking Initiative has provided training to more than 1,000 professionals and filed charges against more than 30 individuals for human trafficking - all leading to arrests. It has successfully convicted 26 defendants, with cases against several additional defendants currently pending. The department is also home to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission which works to direct state policy on human trafficking.