HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Alleged sex traffickers arrested in Howard County. Three people are accused of kidnapping women and forcing them to become sex slaves. Experts say it’s an emerging problem here in Maryland.
Meghan McCorkell has more on these latest cases.
The arrests were made in two separate cases in Howard County just a day apart.
Craig Okeido Anderson is behind bars after a 24-year-old woman claims he held her captive for years and forced her to have sex for money.
“She’s actually been forced to be a prostitute for the last two years, working for the same suspect,” said Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County Police.
The woman, who’d been beaten, went to a Carroll County fire station for help.
Just the day before, another woman called Howard County police with a similar story. She claims Gary Maddox, 29, and Amina Philip, 27, kidnapped her in Rhode Island and forced her to have sex for money in various states over three days. The couple was arrested in Elkridge.
In both cases, the suspects were advertising on the website Backpage.com to try to solicit customers.
“It’s becoming more and more concerning for law enforcement. It really is a coincidence that in each of these individual and separate situations that website was used in both cases,” Llewellyn said.
Victims’ advocates say sex trafficking is a growing, serious problem in Maryland.
“We know that for every girl we find, for every young boy that is identified, that there is potentially another hundred,” said Melissa Snow with Turnaround.
Last year, the governor held a conference on sex trafficking to train local agencies to prosecute these cases.
Sex trafficking has been reported in nearly every Maryland county. In Howard County, officers are specially trained to deal with forced prostitution. One detective is assigned solely to human trafficking cases.
Police say when they arrested Anderson, they found an assault weapon in his car. He, Maddox and Philip are now all being held on bond in the Howard County Detention Center.
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