PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, December 3, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) conducted an undercover human trafficking operation in Pearl which resulted in the arrests of five individuals who were charged with procuring sexual servitude of a minor and exploitation of a child.
“The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is committed to apprehending sex traffickers and sex buyers while helping our most vulnerable,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lee Morrison, Director of MBI. “The dedicated Human Trafficking Unit of MBI continues to plan and execute operations aimed at identifying and separating human trafficking victims, both adults and minors, from their perpetrators.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Clinton Police Department, Columbia Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Newton County Constable’s Office and the Oxford Police Department also assisted in the operation and arrests of the following individuals:
- Michael Starks, 50, was charged with Procuring Sexual Servitude of a Minor and Exploitation of a Minor.
- Kentaveus Woodard, 21, was charged with Procuring Sexual Servitude of a Minor and Exploitation of a Minor.
- Aramis Clerk, 28, was charged with Procuring Sexual Servitude of a Minor and Exploitation of a Minor.
- Samual Page, 25, was charged with Procuring Sexual Servitude of a Minor and Exploitation of a Minor.
- Arthur Jackson, 30, was charged with Procuring Sexual Servitude of a Minor and Exploitation of a Minor.
The City of Pearl released the following statement about the operation:
The City of Pearl would like to clarify information released by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation about a human trafficking operation it conducted in the city last week.
The operation had nothing to do with any residents of Pearl nor any human trafficking going on in the city of Pearl. The operation, which took place Thursday Dec. 3 and Friday Dec. 4, lured suspects from out of the area to a hotel in Pearl. None of those arrested were from Pearl or Rankin County.
The MBI held a class on human trafficking for law enforcement agencies around the state in Pearl, which apparently culminated with this operation. The city appreciates the work done by the officers involved in the operation to stop the crime of human trafficking.
Greg Flynn, Communications and Public Information Director for the City of Pearl
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.