COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced the arrest of three Columbus residents following an investigation by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Human traffickers control their victims through fear, drugs and violence – chains that are broken when law enforcement makes a big arrest,” Yost said. “Our task forces are working hard to get traffickers off the streets and into jail.”
Ka-Auija’e “Unique” Washington, Levrous “Vell” Alfred and Patrice Bigord were indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on May 24 on human trafficking related charges. All three suspects were taken into custody today by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Washington, 20, was charged with nine felony counts, including trafficking in persons, compelling prostitution, promoting prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor and pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor.
Alfred, 28, was indicted on three felony counts of trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution and compelling prostitution.
Bigord, 21, was indicted on one felony count of compelling prostitution.
The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force received tips from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Crime Stoppers and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. During the course of the investigation, multiple juvenile victims were identified.
Anyone with additional information regarding this investigation or knowledge of additional victims of human trafficking is encouraged to contact the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6336) or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-3737-888 and request to be connected with a member of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, formed under the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, includes resources from the Columbus Division of Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Powell Police Department, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Adult Parole Authority, The Ohio State University Police Department, Salvation Army, Southeast Healthcare, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office and the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office.
Indictments are criminal allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless proved guilty in a court of law.