Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

FBI says three adult women and two teenagers were held in a room secured with a padlock and steel gate, drugged, forced into prostitution.

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DETROIT, MI — The FBI got a tip from local police Thursday that led them to a southwest Detroit home where two teenagers and three suburban women had been held in locked rooms, drugged, forced into prostitution and, if they didn’t perform well, according to a case unfolding in U.S. District Court.

Richard Jackson, 67, was charged with multiple felonies related to a sex ring after the raid on his home on South Electric Street. Three adult women, two of them 21, the third 31 and all from the Downriver area, were rescued, but the two teens — one 14 and the other thought to be between 12-15 years — are missing after one of the victims helped them escape through a bathroom window, according to media reports.

Detroit police responded to the house on South Electric about 1 p.m.Thursday after getting a 911 call that someone inside had been hit. While there, they talked to a woman who said she was being held against her will and had been forced into prostitution, according to the police report.

“My sister’s in the basement. You’ve got to get to her. He’s going to kill her,” the woman told police, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

It’s unclear how long women have been held in the home. A neighbor told WDIV-TV that Jackson showed up at the house earlier this year, but it wasn’t known if he was a squatter or owned it. Neighbors told the TV station it was clear the women were working as prostitutes, but they didn’t know they were being held against their will. They also said they had never seen the teenagers.

The federal complaint paints a horrifying picture of what the endured, both inside the upstairs room secured with a large padlock and steel gate and outside, where they were forced to “walk the tracks” as prostitutes at Michigan and Livernois avenues.

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