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Upper Peninsula women drugged, sex trafficked in Genesee County, sheriff says

A Nebraska man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for sex trafficking. He was sentenced in federal court in Iowa. (MGN/Pixabay)
A Nebraska man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for sex trafficking. He was sentenced in federal court in Iowa. (MGN/Pixabay)(KWQC)
Published: Jan. 22, 2020 at 12:53 PM EST
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(1/22/2020) - Two Upper Peninsula women who were visiting a boyfriend in Genesee County recently found themselves in an alleged human trafficking situation.

The alleged victims ages 19 and 20 came to Genesee County about three weeks ago to visit one of their boyfriends, Sheriff Chris Swanson said.

The boyfriend kicked both of them out after about two weeks and they ended up sleeping on the floor of another friend's residence at Evergreen Regency Apartments in Flint.

Someone then told the women about another place they could stay in a different Genesee County city with a bed.

However, Swanson said that person took them to a group of three people ages 30 to 50. That group drugged, sexually abused and offered other people sex with the two women.

The sexual abuse and trafficking allegedly continued for about four days.

"Those individuals attempted to pimp them out," Swanson said. "Those individuals kept them high, so they couldn't make sound decisions ... to try to get out."

The alleged pimps accused of trafficking the women eventually brought them to Hurley Medical Center because they looked sick, according to Swanson. Staff at the hospital notified the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, which immediately began investigating.

"Had they not gotten sick and gotten to Hurley -- which Hurley obviously like all of the ERs are well-versed in what to look for in human trafficking -- they would've been trafficked, potentially, throughout the country, because they have no means of communication, they have no means to make sound decisions," Swanson said. "They're only used as property."

Swanson said two people who dropped off the alleged trafficking victims returned to the hospital Wednesday morning to check on them. Police arrested them there.

Two other possible suspects were under investigation on Wednesday.

Authorities have not identified the suspects because they hadn't been arraigned. The investigation into the alleged human trafficking was continuing Wednesday afternoon.

Watch ABC12 News at Six for more on how Hurley's one-of-a-kind system helps identify human trafficking victims and keep them safe.

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