When some 200 law enforcement officers raided the Victory Inn in Detroit last month, they recovered more than just narcotics. They also rescued 14 victims of human trafficking who were being provided drugs in exchange for “commercial sex dates” in filthy rooms filled with needles, crack pipes and guns, reports the Detroit News. A nonprofit called Alternatives for Girls partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations to offer the victims crisis counseling, hygiene supplies, clothing, drug treatment referrals and transportation to safe lodging. Michael Randol, a 41-year-old convicted felon, allegedly distributed drugs to women in exchange for sex dates at the motel. One woman told police she worked as a prostitute to pay back a man called “Q,” who sold her cocaine and heroin, and to “work off a drug debt she owed” to another man called “T.”
Melissa Novock, a human trafficking specialist, said traffickers use drugs to manipulate women who have or develop addictions. But there are a number of reasons women fall victims to trafficking. Some fall behind on rent and need money. Others can’t get a job because of criminal histories. Pimps often target vulnerable young girls and women, though boys can be victims, too, Novock said. There’s also a misconception that victims are snatched from malls or bus stops.