TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa man was arrested Wednesday after deputies say he allegedly forced a woman into human trafficking to get her to pay a debt.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said its Human Trafficking Squad worked undercover as potential clients, also known as “johns,” to investigate any instances of local human trafficking.
On Wednesday, undercover detectives met with two women at a local hotel, noticing that “a ride-sharing service vehicle” dropped them off.
Deputies said their suspect, 29-year-old Frank Ramos Terry of Tampa, was in the vehicle’s front passenger seat.
Believing they had probable cause, the undercover detectives took the two women into custody. According to the sheriff’s office, the detectives learned that one of the women was forced into sex work to pay a debt she owed him.
Ramos Terry was booked into the Falkenburg Road Jail on charges of coerce for commercial sex act by human trafficking, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and transporting for prostitution.
“Anyone who believes they can make a livelihood by taking advantage of women in Hillsborough County needs a reality check,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “It is inhumane and our detectives continue to crack down on those whose vile and heinous business is to force women into a life of human trafficking.
The victim was able to get to a safe house thanks to the sheriff’s office and Selah Freedom, who provided additional services.
“A lot of these women, the little bit of courage they do have, they don’t trust law enforcement,” Chronister said. “Having such great partnerships with Created, with Empowered, with Selah Freedom, helps those individuals that are being victimized get the services they need along with the courage to stand up to the trafficker.”