Ga. deputies spot ‘red flags’ during pursuit, save teen from human trafficking
Once deputies were able to stop a pursuit with the suspect, they discovered the teen was previously identified as a human trafficking victim in South Carolina
By Tanasia Kenney
The Charlotte Observer
GREENSBORO, Ga. — A police chase ended with the rescue of a 16-year-old girl who was being sex trafficked across Atlanta, deputies in Georgia say.
Authorities recognized the “red flags” after Anthony Holmes, 32, was detained Aug. 2 near Siloam, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies had tried to pull him over for “an equipment violation” before he sped off, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. A woman was in the car with him, as well as teen who deputies said had been trafficked from South Carolina to metro Atlanta and “sold for commercial sex” on multiple occasions.
Holmes led law enforcement on a pursuit between counties, topping speeds of 119 mph, Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told WSB-TV. Using a PIT maneuver, they caught up with the accused trafficker.
Authorities secured a warrant for Holmes’ arrest on Aug. 4.
Investigators learned the teen girl was a reported runaway from Ohio and had previously been identified as a human trafficking victim in South Carolina, deputies said.
“Holmes and another female adult transported the victim from South Carolina to Atlanta where her exploitation continued,” according to the release.
Deputies then reached out to specialists with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s human trafficking unit for help with the case.
Holmes faces multiple charges including human trafficking; fleeing and eluding; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to Greene County deputies.
The woman in the car with him, 20-year-old Jameesha Harris, also faces a human trafficking charge.
GBI officials told WSB-TV that the teen is receiving help from victims services and eventually will return home to Ohio.
Human trafficking in the U.S.
Experts describe human trafficking as a “crime of exploitation,” according to the U.S. Justice Department. Traffickers profit off their victims by forcing them to engage in sex acts or do labor.
“With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers prey on people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit,” officials said.
Industries where trafficking victims are forced to work include hospitality, restaurants, agriculture, construction and salons, among countless others, according to the DOJ.
Also, children who are in welfare or juvenile justice systems, such as foster care, are the most vulnerable to human trafficking, officials said.
Greene County is about 80 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.