Human trafficking investigation wraps up in Tuscaloosa

Human trafficking investigation wraps up in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - 33 arrested in a month long human trafficking investigation in Tuscaloosa.

Court documents list over a dozen men arrested at a Best Western Hotel on McFarland Blvd, for soliciting sex, traveling to meet a child for sex and other charges.

Investigators used that location all of July to catch the culprits right in the act.

"Any town that's joining that interstate can be hit," said Lt. Teena Richardson with Tuscaloosa Police.

She's referring to I-20/59, one of the largest human trafficking corridors in the country.

Court records show some of the men came to Tuscaloosa, from Mississippi and even Tennessee to pay for sex.

"Usually they travel from hotel to hotel," said Richardson.

Just Sunday at the Ramada Inn on Skyland Blvd, detectives responded to a human trafficking complaint, where the suspects were from Memphis.

"Humiliating these girls and doing all this extra and nobody is asking for that type of treatment," said college student Johnny Dukes.

Sites like backpage.com is one way some underage girls get lured in, and investigators said it's also a tool they use to catch predators.

"They don't know that it's police and or they just take a chance on it," said Richardson.

Police try to get suspects like the ones arrested off the streets.

Groups such as WellHouse and End it Alabama work to support trafficking victims.

Tuscaloosa resident Coley Dains believes hotels should do their part too. 

"I can't remember exactly where but I know there are police stations and some municipalities that are putting hotel managers through training to detect human trafficking," said Dains.

Tuscaloosa police said there are some common areas they monitor, where there are many women prostituting in the city.

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