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8 Women Found Held in $1M Georgia Home: Cops
Mar-11-2017 656 0


The voice was calm and quiet and desperate: "I'm in a very bad situation, and I need to get out."

The caller, a 20-year-old woman, told a Georgia dispatcher that she was being held against her will. And it wasn't just her.

"It's a house full of girls and ... if I try to leave, he'll try to kill me and stuff," she said, prompting the dispatcher to ask, "Wait — did you say you're in a house full of girls?"

The caller's Tuesday morning plea helped Georgia authorities to uncover an alleged case of human trafficking based out of a $1 million luxury home in the suburbs of Atlanta. The suspect, Kenndric Roberts, 33, was charged with additional felonies Friday, Sandy Springs police told NBC News.

Roberts faces five counts of false imprisonment, five counts of trafficking persons for labor and two counts for possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. An AK-47 pistol and a Glock .45-caliber handgun were found in the home, police said. Possible federal charges are also pending.

In total, eight women ranging from ages 19 to 22 were found at the home, said Sgt. Sam Worsham.

Roberts was renting the residence, Worsham added, and the homeowners weren't there. The president of the local homeowners association told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the group had received complaints from neighbors about cars constantly "coming in and out."

It's unclear how long some of the women were allegedly held at the home, which is listed as having five bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms. The 911 caller said she had been there about a month.

She said she met the man holding her captive via SeekingArrangement.com, a website that offers "mutually beneficial relationships," and that "he had me go get, like, plastic surgery."

Related: Flight Attendants Train to Spot Human Trafficking

Police said Roberts had lured the young women by telling them he could provide them modeling jobs.

But the promises made of easy money turned into threats of violence, detectives said in an affidavit.

One woman "stated that Kendrick [sic] had threatened her on numerous times, one instance where he stated he was going to pay someone to cut her chest open, take out the implants and cut her up," the detective wrote.

Some of the women also said he forced them to work at local strip clubs, and they had to leave their IDs and phones at home, police said. He offered to pay them more money if they stayed with him — and threatened to hurt them or their families if they left.

Roberts waived his first court appearance Thursday. He is being held without bond in Fulton County Jail with another hearing planned for later this month.

The FBI office in Atlanta is helping to assist the investigation, and is asking for other potential victims to come forward.

Worsham said all eight of the women have been brought to families or placed in safe houses.

Atlanta remains one of the largest hubs in the country for sexual exploitation and human trafficking, federal authorities say.

Kasey McClure, who runs the faith-based nonprofit 4Sarah Inc., which assists victims of sex trafficking in the Atlanta area, said this latest case should be an eye-opener because it happened in an affluent bedroom community where neighbors failed to notify police.

For the women, who are oftentimes desperate for money and a place to live, the lifestyle can seem irresistible, she added.

"These girls think, 'Well, I'm in a beautiful home. I'm getting fed. I'm getting transportation. I don't have to worry about paying bills.' It's glamorized," said McClure, who began the nonprofit in 2005 after leaving the sex industry herself.

Her organization, which began as a "strip club ministry," aims to help women turn their lives around. While some young girls and women are put off by the violence and leave on their own accord, others sometimes return because they have nowhere else to go, she said.

But she remains hopeful organizations such as hers can make a difference: "You change lives one girl at a time."

   
     

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