SARASOTA, Fla. – Dec. 30, 2014 – 8:15 a.m.
On Thursday, December 18, 2014, the Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit in conjunction with the Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Unit conducted a case specific undercover operation related to the human trafficking of a minor.
Information was obtained from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office that a subject, identified as Maurice Williams, date of birth 08-12-1990, was advertising a 16-year-old female on the website "BackPage" for prostitution in the city of limits of Sarasota.
Both Williams and the juvenile are from the Tampa area. The main priority of the operation was to rescue the juvenile and gather evidence to charge Williams with human trafficking.
Subsequent to a successful operation, the juvenile was rescued and Williams was taken into custody. A search warrant was executed at a Best Western in Sarasota where evidence of human trafficking was discovered. Williams was charged with:
• Human Trafficking of a Minor (felony)
• Procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution (felony)
The juvenile, who had been reported as a missing juvenile (runaway) out of Hillsborough County, was taken into protective custody. She was met by two counselors from the Sarasota Police Department’s TYLA (Turn Your Life Around) partners, Selah Freedom.