Private eye calls for more resource sharing for sex trafficking cases
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS 12) —
Even though the case against Robert Miner is being called a victory for law enforcement, because its an accused sex trafficking suspect off the street, some on the frontlines say a lot more needs to be done.
CBS 12 talked to a private investigator who works to find runaways before they become victims of sex trafficking.
He says police need to act faster, share information, and follow up on things that private eyes bring to them.
"And even now, the relationship that we have with the police departments that we regularly work with, is strained, because of their departmental policy," said Justin Payton.
Payton is a private investigator. He works with investigator John Rode, who helped CBS 12 news with a special report on sex for sale in Palm Beach County.
Payton says the arrest of 27-year-old Robert Miner is encouraging, but he wonders how many victims are unaccounted for.
Five victims spoke to police, but Payton says more victims could be out there, afraid to come forward.
He says victims are oftentimes hard to locate.
And part of Justin's work is to stop young women from becoming victims in the first place.
Police will not open a missing persons case until someone has been gone 48 hours.
But as a former member of law enforcement, as a Deputy US Marshal, Justin says the first 48 hours are the most important.
"Thats what drove us to form the nonprofit (Global Children's Rescue) to really delve into Human Trafficking and missing children and that's kind of why we are where we are," Payton said.
Since families contact Justin when police won't investigate sooner, he says police and private eyes all over the country should be able to share information across a network. And he says, sometimes people are more willing to talk to a private eye than a cop, so for runaways, police should allow private eyes to generate leads.
"Our feeling is because it's out of sight out of mind, you don't have your typical prostitute standing on a street corner anymore, it's still there, it's still illegal, but it's behind closed doors, we feel they would rather focus on other things," Payton said
So far in 2017, there have been 21 arrests in Palm Beach County tied to this industry.
But only half were charged with trafficking because victims could not be located or refused to cooperate.
Justin Payton says there's the proof that more collaboration is needed.
Rode and Payton's Organization, GCR, is holding a fundraiser Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale at the Bull Market.
Tickets are $20, include a drink and appetizer and can be purchased through Eventbrite.com. All proceeds will go to the GCR.