Columbus mayor: Police unable to prove sex trafficking allegatio - WRBL

Columbus mayor: Police unable to prove sex trafficking allegations

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Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson says local police are unable to substantiate allegations about human trafficking in the area. A Nashville-based organization says a recently recovered missing-girl was a victim of sex-trafficking, but the mayor says police have not found enough evidence to prove this was the case.

The Trafficking in America Task Force says it sent a rescue team to Columbus after a girl went missing in December. What they say they found is a sex trafficking problem in Columbus with underage girls.

The face of the task force is a masked man, simply called "Bishop." The group claims he is a former undercover agent. He says their investigation led them to a "party house" on the south side of town with, what he says were about a dozen underage girls. When they contacted the local authorities, the organization says police didn't do anything.

“They were actually notified, our rescue team notified local law enforcement and they were told by local enforcement to stay where they were until they could get there with the search warrants, and they never showed up,” says Yvonne Williams, the President of the Trafficking in America Task Force.

Because of the holiday, officials with Columbus police were unavailable but we brought this information to the mayor who's been in contact with police throughout the investigation.

“The type of information you shared with me is something that's inconsistent with their findings, although certainly, we're very concerned about what we did learn and that is that we don't tolerate prostitution or drugs and certainly as it relates to young people,” says Tomlinson.

She says they have a Special Victims and Vice Squad and they look at these things every day. She says they act even more diligently and expeditiously when it's related to a minor. She says although their findings did not prove the allegations, she invites the organization to continue to bring them information.

“It's different than what they have found in their investigations and so we need to get the 2 parties together so we get to the bottom of this,” says Tomlinson.

"I'm not buying the fact that it doesn't happen that much,” says Williams. “They were notified there was a potential case and they didn't show up, and it does happen, it happens a lot more than people are willing to admit."

The Trafficking in America Task Force is a registered non-profit organization. They were not required by law to file tax information last year because of limited revenue and expenditures. However, Williams told us the group raised around $33,000 and spent most of it on an annual conference that educates and raises awareness about trafficking in America.

Bishop says he worked undercover for the Department of Justice. He says he wears a mask to protect his identity because his life has been threatened by people he tries to expose.

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