The Tangipahoa Parish police department has arrested five people for forcing an autistic woman into prostitution. She lived in a cage for more than eight months. Officers said she lost an estimated 60 pounds since she was captured.
Daniel Edwards, Sheriff at Tangipahoa Parish, said the 22-year-old woman was held captive outside a home in Amite City, since October 2015. She resided in a cage, where she had a bucket to defecate.
The victim’s mother reportedly died in August last year. Police arrested five people for human trafficking, in relation to the case, including Raylaine Knope (40), Bridget Lambert (19), Taylor Knope, (18), Jody Lambert (21), and Terry Knope (43).
The autistic woman, whose name has not been provided, was rescued last week. Edwards said that she has the same functional capacity of a child, according to The Advocate.
The victim has suffered from malnutrition and insect bites. Edwards added that her cage was 6-by-8-foot long. She was immediately taken to the hospital. The Louisiana Department of Health’s Adult Protective Services is now responsible for her care and custody.
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The 21-year-old woman was forced to have sexual intercourses
Four kids living in the same home were also placed in the care of the institution. The children did not appear malnourished, the sheriff told The Advocate. Investigators think they could provide evidence about the situation involving the autistic woman.
Edwards said in a press conference that the woman was probably not abused while her mother was alive. Her captors apparently forced her to engage in sexual intercourses with various people, said the sheriff. As a result, they obtained money.
Officers could find the woman after someone made a report on late June. The sheriff’s office said there were enough evidence from witnesses to register the house. All suspects involved in the human trafficking case were arrested in the Tangipahoa Parish Prison.
The captors would be facing additional charges in the coming days, said Edwards. He added that he doesn’t expect further arrests. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is working alongside the state Attorney General’s Office on the case.
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United Nations: ‘Virtually every country in the world is affected by human trafficking’
The United Nations has declared there is human traffic in all parts of the world. Sherif Edwards said that human traffic in the United States “is unimaginable.” He admitted that such a practice also occurs in other states of the country such as New Orleans.
“The lesson here, as far as I can tell, is that there are some very sick individuals in this world. Human trafficking doesn’t discriminate. It exists in Shreveport. It exists in Tangipahoa Parish. It exists in St. Tammany Parish. It exists everywhere there are people,” Edwards was quoted as saying by The Advocate.
Last year, the New York times published a report about human traffic in New York City. This practice includes people who receive nothing or less than the minimum wage for doing a job. The United Nations said that immigrants are often victims of human traffic.
Source: The Advocate