Human trafficking is growing worldwide, but the victims can be found right here in the Detroit area

Posted at 11:30 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2020-01-19 17:41:49-05

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world -  $32 billion a year - and it could happen to anyone’s daughter.

The 7 Investigators have discovered Human Trafficking is growing. It has gone high tech. It is big money. Organized crime is involved. And it can affect your family.

The 7 Investigators found actual pictures of young women in their teens and 20s from right here in Metro Detroit who were held as modern day slaves, locked up and drugged up. 

The pictures were posted in recent ads on - which has been the go-to website for prostitution for years. Several murders are also tied to hookups on the site.

Attorneys General in several states worked together to try to shut Backpage down. 

The owner Carl Ferrer was arrested in Texas and charged in California with conspiracy and pimping a minor. But last Friday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman tossed out the case saying the ads were placed by a third party and had First Amendment protection. 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner, “I would urge Congress to make a change.” 

Roseville Police Chief Jim Berlin added, “This is just another individual profiting off of someone else’s misery. He (Ferrer) knows what he’s doing. He can hide behind the First Amendment all he wants. Common decency says you don’t put these ads out there.”

Two recent cases in Metro Detroit show how Human Trafficking has developed. 

Richard Jackson was arrested at a home on Electric Street in Detroit in November and charged by the feds.

In court documents it is alleged Jackson kept women locked upstairs, “a large black/metal/steel gate on top of the stairs. Jackson allegedly “gave the females drugs” and “beat them if they refused” to work. 

Three girls ran away. Get this: their tender ages are 12, 14, and 15.

“This could happen to anybody’s daughter. It breaks your heart,” Schuette said. "This is the fastest growing crime globally - $32 billion a year are raised by these thugs.”

Another case involved the arrest of 24-year-old Jonathan Colon of New York City at a hotel in Roseville. He was charged with Human Trafficking, Transporting for Prostitution and Conducting a Criminal Enterprise. 

The evidence shows he worked in several Metro Detroit hotels, selling his women and making big money. 

“It is more sophisticated and part of organized crime,” said Chief Berlin.

The common warning to all families: keep very close to your teen girls and young adults. They can easily become the next victim.