Atlanta Residents Convicted of Interstate Trafficking of a Victim for Commercial Sex Purposes
United States Attorney William C. Lamar and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze announced today that a jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi has convicted two individuals of Transporting a Victim from Georgia to Mississippi to engage in prostitution. Following a two day trial in Oxford, Mississippi, a jury convicted Mario D. Collins of Memphis, Tennessee and Paulette M. Clayton of Atlanta, Georgia of trafficking the victim from Georgia to Tennessee and ultimately to Oxford, Mississippi for commercial sex purposes. Collins and Clayton will be sentenced at a later date and face up to ten years imprisonment as a result of their conviction.
An investigation conducted by the Oxford Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that the female victim was transported from Atlanta, Georgia to Oxford, Mississippi by Collins and Clayton so that she could engage in prostitution. Evidence presented at trial established that OPD Officers responded to an Oxford motel on April 27, 2017, after receiving a 911 call indicating that the victim was being held against her will. Collins and Clayton were arrested in the hotel parking lot and the victim was recovered from inside the hotel. OPD Officers Joshua Shipp and Brandon Jenkins were among the officers who initially responded to the 911 call and assisted throughout the investigation and trial of the case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Clay Dabbs and Sam Stringfellow represented the United States in this case and FBI Special Agent Walter Henry and OPD Detective Chad Carwile spearheaded the investigation.
Following the conviction, United States Attorney William C. Lamar noted, “Human trafficking is not a victimless crime. Women, many of whom are very young, are often coerced into prostitution by predators, taken advantage of, and are frequently victims of violence. Along with federal, state and local law enforcement, we will continue to address this problem in our District and prosecute those responsible. I congratulate and thank Special Agent Walter Henry of the FBI, Investigator Chad Carwile of the Oxford Police Department, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Clay Dabbs and Sam Stringfellow for jobs well done.”
“Forcing someone into prostitution is reprehensible and has no place in our society,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Freeze. “Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, and must be addressed at the interagency level. Partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are key in these types of cases, and we appreciate everyone involved in bringing justice to those being trafficked.”