Human Trafficking in Tallahassee: What You Need to Know

Human trafficking is a crime that plagues society at both national and international levels and has not left Tallahassee untouched. Over the past year, social media has been bombarded with personal accounts of strange vehicles circling apartment parking lots, people being followed by unknown vehicles, and men attempting to lure women from their homes with manufactured cries of infants. According to the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) Special Victims Unit, there have been several calls indicating reports of such nature, but they advise residents to remain calm. Although there have been several accounts of such situations on social media, seemingly daily, only a few arrests have been made.

 On Feb. 15, 2018, 34-year old Dishay Henderson was arrested for the trafficking of two girls of ages 16 and 17. When Henderson was arrested, the two teenage girls were “transferred” to another man, and later found in March. The second man, Marvin Perry, Jr., was arrested on April 7, 2018. While Henderson admitted to forcing the underage girls into prostitution, Perry denied such actions and insisted he only offered them a place to stay. Perry later admitted to police that the drugs he used caused him to “do a lot of things” and that he did use those drugs around the victims.

Pictured: Dishay Henderson (left) and Marvin Perry, Jr. (right)

Despite several claims and reports from women in the social media community, Rachelle Denmark, TPD’s Public Information Officer, assured the public in a statement in September that there was “no evidence of possible sex traffickers luring women from their apartments with the cries of babies.” However, there was another arrest made on Nov. 6, 2018.

Pictured: Ryan Hogans

Ryan Hogans, 40, was arrested for the trafficking of a 14-year-old girl. Earlier that day, officers discovered an advertisement posted “for the purpose of sexual contact” with that child, which was confirmed to have been posted by Hogans himself.

On Jan. 26 yet another arrest was made by TPD on the charge of human trafficking. Tyron Watson, 36, was arrested for forcing and arranging sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl for money.  Northwest Florida Daily News reported that the victim recounted that Watson threatened to “murder her and her family if she didn’t work for him.” According to ABC Action News, his charges included human trafficking, prostitution, and two counts of lewdness with a minor.

Although these arrests, apart from Henderson and Perry, have not been officially linked, the similar nature of the cited charges should not be ignored by the public. Police advise people to act with “constant vigilance” and to report any suspicious behavior as it is observed rather than sharing it on the internet. Despite assurances from the police that these cases are not linked, social media accounts have continued throughout the past few months ranging from suspicious vehicles to Uber rides gone wrong. Human trafficking continues to plague Tallahassee. When in public, it is advised that all people, particularly women, continue to be aware of their surroundings, report suspicious behavior, and exhibit reasonable caution when approached by strangers, meeting new people, or even walking down the street. 

All images courtesy of wtxl.com.