Three arrested in Altus, accused of human trafficking
LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Three people are in the Jackson County Jail on complaints of human trafficking.
Altus Police Detectives were originally investigating a 26-year-old woman on suspicions of prostitution. On Tuesday, they reached out to her and scheduled a meeting.
"We then sent in one of our patrol officers to make a deal for prostitution with her," said Altus Police Department Detective Jonathan Almanza. "After making contact with her, after the deal was made, it was discovered she was actually being used by three other individuals."
Those three individuals are 20-year-old Jonalea Muck, 20-year-old Jason Boylan and 24-year-old Tyler Butler. Police say the 26-year-old woman gave them information on the suspects' daily routines--leading investigators to the Altus Public Library where police arrested all three.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, human trafficking remains a problem in Oklahoma with the organization receiving over 1,200 calls of trafficking since 2007. FBI Special Agent Kathyrn Peterson spoke about our state's alarming statistics.
"Because we are the crossroads of many interstate highways, we're very vulnerable to this sex trafficking throughout the state - both trafficking children through our state and also within our state," said Peterson.
Detectives have handed the case over to the district attorney's office and expect only charges of misdemeanor prostitution to be filed against the 26-year-old. They said they don't think she was a willing participant in the operation.
"It's important because a lot of the girls who are doing it don't want to be doing it in the first place," said Almanza. "They're coerced into doing it, they're forced into it, so although they're committing a crime, many times I don't think it's because they want to, I think it's because of fear or of something else that someone is doing to them."
If you need to report a case of human trafficking, you can call the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking Hotline at (855) 617-2288.
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