OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) – Sex trafficking is becoming a growing problem and law enforcement in north Mississippi are working together to end it.
Two men were sentenced Tuesday in Oxford in connection with bringing prostitutes from Memphis to Oxford for commercial sex acts.
However, this case isn’t the only one local courts have seen.
With January designated as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, many people are learning on how to stay vigilant against such crimes.
Police say the victims often think they have no choice.
“A lot of times we find they were taken into the situation under desperate terms,” said Major Jeff McCutchen with Oxford police. “Or they were picked up, coerced or tricked. They basically did not understand what was about to happen.”
McCutchen says he’s seen four to six trafficking cases in the last few years. Law enforcement work to catch people like Ricky Robertson and Ladarius Jackson, who were sentenced Tuesday.
“There are many times where these women go through this for years and years and just don’t have the avenue to get out,” he continued.
Another duo, Paulette Clayton and Mario Collins were convicted for transporting a woman across the South to engage in prostitution. The victim was recovered inside an Oxford motel last spring.
“It’s really disheartening to hear,” said Oxford resident Sarah Baker. “You don’t expect it to be right in your own backyard.”