Detective: 26-year-old sex trafficked special needs woman in Genesee County
What started as a dating relationship quickly turned to a violent situation, with Macala Vliet selling the woman for sex and abusing her if she tried to leave.
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (8/26/2020) - A 26-year-old Flint man is accused of selling a woman with special needs for sex.
It happened for nearly two weeks before the Genesee County Sheriff`s GHOST team caught him.
Macala Vliet is facing up to 10 years in prison.
Lt. David Kennamer said the two met online. He explained what started as a dating relationship quickly turned to a violent situation, with Macala Vliet selling the woman for sex and abusing her if she tried to leave.
Lt. Kennamer said the woman feared for her life.
“He’s a predator, he’s taking advantage of someone that needs someone to be their voice,” he explained.
Being the voice for the voiceless has been somewhat of a motto for the Lieutenant over his 15 years with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
“When you get an opportunity to be that voice, that’s why you sign up. That’s why you raise your hand and take your oath of the office to protect those that can’t protect themselves,” Lt. Kennamer said.
Overseeing the GHOST operations, Lt. Kennamer explained he and another team member monitor human trafficking websites and that's where they found the sex worker advertisement for this victim.
“We came across a female, who we believe looked vulnerable -- disheveled appearance, she was kind of unkept. She had broken glasses that were taped together with like an inch of tape around the frame holding them together,” Lt. Kennamer said.
They contacted 26-year-old Macala Vliet to set up a date and time to meet; and that's how they caught the two.
Lt. Kennamer said the woman is not from mid-Michigan.
It's important to note that over the last decade, law enforcement has changed its perspective on human trafficking, looking now at the person sold as a victim, not charging her as a prostitute.
“We switch from custody to care,” he said. “And, we arranged a place for her stay, social services to come in, counseling, we actually took her through the drive thru at Taco Bell.”
And they worked with the Prosecutor's Office, Flint Optical and other partners to replace the woman's broken, taped together glasses in time for her to use her own voice testifying against Vliet.
“They were able to get her glasses back, her prescription glasses back,” Lt. Kennamer said. “To give that back to her it’s just one step to restoring her humanity.”
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