Prosecutor: Woman sold for sex during week-long kidnapping, human trafficking ordeal

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FLINT (WJRT) (5/15/2018) - A woman separated from her husband and bounced around looking for a place to live in Flint, eventually leading her into a nightmarish ordeal.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the woman ended up in a residence in the 600 block of Freeman Avenue in Flint, where a woman and two men sex trafficked her.

The woman spent nearly a week in forced captivity, during which she was stripped, beaten, sexually assaulted and trafficked multiple times.

Leyton said the 34-year-old victim's ordeal started when went to stay with a friend after separating from her husband, but the living situation didn't work out. She then moved on to stay with another friend, who later got evicted.

The victim and the friend who got evicted then moved into the residence on Freeman Avenue owned by 41-year-old Darius Thames. The victim's friend later moved out, but the victim continued staying at Thames' house, Leyton said.

Thames' girlfriend, 27-year-old Emily Draheim, and 25-year-old Trey Stewart also were living in the house at the time.

At some point around May 7, the victim and Draheim got into some kind of altercation, Leyton said. The fight turned physically violent and Draheim allegedly strangled her.

Thames came home during the fight and continued beating up the victim, leaving two black eyes and other injuries. Then the situation took a turn for the worse.

"At some point, Thames tortured her, among other things, stripping her, duct taping her to the floor," Leyton said. "She was beaten further and she was threatened with a gun to her head."

The victim was held against her will in the Freeman Avenue residence for about six days. During that time, Thames, Draheim and Stewart "became pimps" and forced the victim to have sex with multiple people who paid them for the encounters, Leyton said.

On Saturday, two of the suspects left the residence and the third fell asleep. That allowed the victim to escape and run to the Teasers gentlemen's club, where an employee called the Flint Police Department for her.

Police talked with the woman and got information that led them to Thames' house on Freeman Avenue. All three suspects were arrested Saturday and remained in custody Tuesday after arraignment.

They are facing the following charges:

Thames (16 charges):
-- two counts of kidnapping.
-- two counts of torture.
-- four counts of human trafficking.
-- four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
-- felonious assault.
-- two counts of carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
-- possession of ammunition by a felon.

Draheim (13 charges):
-- two counts of kidnapping.
-- two counts of torture.
-- four counts of human trafficking.
-- four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
-- assault with intent to do great bodily harm

Stewart (13 charges):
-- two counts of kidnapping.
-- one count of torture.
-- four counts of human trafficking.
-- four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
-- carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
-- possession of ammunition by a felon.

At least two men paid for sex with the victim, Leyton said. Investigators are still determining whether they will be charged with any crimes.

Leyton said law enforcement officials are helping the woman through the ordeal as best they can.

"She's been through a very traumatic time, and as you know some of these victims have had difficult times leading up to the incidents that occurred in the first place," he said. "But our job in the law enforcement community now is to see that she gets the proper advocacy and services she needs to try to help her recover and get back on the productive track."

Leyton said this case appears to be isolated and not part of a larger human trafficking ring, but authorities are still working to confirm that.

He said this case is and others are an eye-opener for many in the local law enforcement community. Prostitution cases may appear to be isolated on the surface, but the women selling themselves may not be doing so on their own.

"I've become more familiar with what is out there, and I think I speak for all of my colleagues in law enforcement. For a long time, we weren't even aware that there was human trafficking in our community," he said. "Through no fault of our own, but just because we had looked at individuals as prostitutes or whatever, not realizing that, in fact, many of them are coerced -- are forced into this kind of a life."



 
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