TOLEDO, OH - A traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike led to the discovery of two women who say they were driven across the country and forced into prostitution by a man who advertised them on the Internet, state troopers said.
A California man who was driving with the women was charged with human trafficking and arraigned Wednesday.
Investigators said one of the women broke down crying and asked a trooper to help them during the traffic stop Tuesday just outside Toledo.
The women, both in their 20s, were fearful and didn't open up until the suspect was out of the car and away from them, said patrol Lt. William Stidham.
James D. Jackson, 21, of Sacramento, made an initial appearance on human trafficking and weapons charges in Maumee Municipal Court and was scheduled to appear again Thursday. Court officials said he did not yet have an attorney.
Jackson drove the women to meet with customers in several states and forced them to turn over their money to him, Stidham said.
He would not say how long the women had been traveling with Jackson. One of the women is a 21-year-old from Vallejo, Calif., while the other is 25 and from Mesa, Ariz., Stidham said.
It's possible the case could be transferred to federal court, he said.
Troopers found a loaded gun, marijuana and sex paraphernalia in the car, Stidham said.
Ohio officials have made it a priority to fight the illegal trade of people for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims of human trafficking often are prostituted and some are girls as young as 11.
A new state law signed last year increased penalties and created a fund to help victims.
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