Mich. attorney general charges pair with human trafficking - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Mich. attorney general charges pair with human trafficking

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Vinson Alexander, 30, and Taryn Johnson, 27 Vinson Alexander, 30, and Taryn Johnson, 27
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

An 18-year-old woman working as an exotic dancer in Detroit was enslaved, investigators say, by 30-year-old Vinson Alexander of Florida and 27-year-old Taryn Johnson of Tennessee.

"This woman, whenever she tried to leave she was beaten," said Joy Yearout, a spokesperson for the Michigan Attorney General's Office.

Investigators say they came here from Memphis in December and preyed on a vulnerable, young woman from Southeast Michigan.  It is alleged Johnson lured her in with promises that Alexander would take care of her.

"He will be a great boss for you, and you'll make very good money.  Clearly that's the opposite of what happened," Yearout said.

Fox 2 has learned she was a dancer at the Penthouse strip club on Eight Mile, but she was discovered at a hotel in Southfield badly beaten.

It happened last Thursday.  Fortunately someone called 9-1-1.  The victim was so viciously attacked she required medical attention.

"A very dangerous and extreme situation, and we're fortunate that law enforcement discovered it when they did," said Yearout.

If not, she may not have made it.  The state attorney general has charged the pair with human trafficking.  Alexander is also charged with torture.

"We even have one example when she had one dollar left in her wallet, and he beat her to get that one dollar," Yearout explained.  "This woman had tried to leave the situation, and she was violently assaulted.  She didn't have access to any of her money.  Those are all red flags that show this is not a voluntary situation."

Human trafficking is a crime that is woefully underreported, and 40 percent of human trafficking involves minors.

"You're talking about our daughters, our granddaughters and their classmates being bought and sold as slaves today in 2013," Yearout said.

For information on how to spot and stop this modern day slavery, visit www.michigan.gov/humantrafficking.

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