DETROIT (WXYZ) — Five years after the Victory Inn on Michigan Avenue was raided by the feds and local police, the first of the cases is going to trial in federal court in Detroit.
The alleged mastermind, Darrick Bell was on the run for almost three years. Alleged enforcer Harold Nero was also on the most wanted list for the feds. He’s been captured.
COVID-19 also delayed the cases. The hotel has since been torn down.
This case and the attention it gets could help other women who feel trapped and forgotten in human trafficking operations large and small that go on every day, says Karen Moore the executive director of Sanctum House.
“This is a really important case and it puts a face to what's really going on,” Moore said.
That nonprofit has rescued 90 women over the last 4 years from other cases.
"They get away with it because they know what to look for. And they know how to hide it,” Moore said.
At the Victory Inn, the feds say they rescued 14 women, and 80 other women came in from the streets to get their fix of drugs and cash.
The allegations are the women were trafficked, forced and coerced to perform with cocaine and heroin over at least two years. Five women are set to testify in the trial. The evidence includes 33 hours of video from eight surveillance cameras inside the hotel.
The trial is expected to take about a week.