NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Memphis couple 36-year-old Bernard Wilson and his 30-year-old girlfriend Brittany King were arrested Monday night and charged with trafficking for a commercial sex act.
The victim, a 15-year-old who, was reported as a runaway out of Maury County in October.
“We’re taking a survivor of trafficking and we’re going be able to help them further along in life and hopefully not become a statistic,” said Jeremy Lofquest, Assistant Special Agent in charge for Human Trafficking for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “That’s the win, getting that victim out of that situation.”
The brand new Metro Nashville Police Department Special Victims Unit was notified by the TBI; the teen was pictured on a website known to advertise prostitution.
“It’s happening to boys and girls, men and women, all the way across the state,” Lofquest said. “It’s not just one isolated incident.”
An undercover detective responded to the online ad and was directed to a motel on Percy Priest Drive. There, the 15-year-old agreed to engage in sex acts for $200. That’s when the undercover detective identified himself and notified other undercover officers to detain Wilson and King, who were in a car in the motel parking lot.
“I’m grateful for our law enforcement community who are so well trained, vigilant and inspired to go out and do this kind of work,” said Margie Quin, Chief Executive Officer for End Slavery Tennessee.
End Slavery Tennessee not only works to stop human trafficking in our state, but also helps rehabilitate victims.
“The kind of trauma that’s experienced during trafficking is extremely complicated and many times takes a lifetime; you’re going to deal with it for a lifetime. So we are going to start a survivor on the right path to healing. I am grateful and relieved this 15-year-old won’t spend Christmas being trafficked, but there are other 15-year-olds out there and the work is not done.”
Quin said you can be part of that effort by closely monitoring your child’s activity online, which is where she said most traffickers find their victims.
It’s also important to be on the lookout for possible human trafficking in your community. If you spot a child or teenager at a hotel or truck stop alone or out of place, or spot them at an adult-only business, that is clearly a red flag.
Report any suspicious activity to the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 855-55-TNHTH.