NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana State Police arrested three alleged sex traffickers after finding a 16-year-old girl at a Central Business District hotel Saturday who had been drugged, raped, beaten and forced into prostitution, according to Trooper Melissa Matey.
Troopers were called to the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street on Saturday. When they arrived, they found a 16-year-old missing juvenile who was listed as a runaway in their computer systems, Matey said.
While interviewing her, troopers discovered that she had been beaten, drugged, raped and “pimped out” by several different men in the past several days.
At that point, the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit took over the investigation and the juvenile was taken to a hospital for medical evaluation before being returned to her family.
Detectives with the SVU identified three suspects from St. Tammany Parish: 39-year-old Jayson Figueroa, 23-year-old Cordarrell Roudolph and a 17-year-old girl.
Police said Figuera and Roudolph drugged the juvenile with Xanax, opioids and other drugs then raped her while she was incapacitated. The 17-year-old girl also allegedly attempted to recruit the 16-year-old into prostitution, according to police.
On Monday, Feb. 4, all three suspects were arrested in St. Tammany Parish.
Figueora and Roudolph were booked into the St. Tammany Parish jail for trafficking of a child for sexual purposes, second degree rape and felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. The 17-year-old was booked for trafficking of a child for sexual purposes.
Additional arrests may be forthcoming.
“We at Covenant House in the past two and half years have cared for about 230 trafficking victims,” said the house’s executive director Jim Kelly, “sadly I am not surprise.”
Kelly is not involved in the investigation but does have direct knowledge of how sex trafficking crimes like this one happen.
“Let’s start with the traffickers. They are evil. It’s the only way to describe somebody who sells other human beings for a living,” said Kelly. “Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable and the youngest. They make a lot more money the younger.”
Many of these crimes start online so Kelly says prevention starts with knowing what your kids are doing online and off.
“Know what is happening on social media, know who your children’s friends are, where they are going and with whom and when they will be home,” said Kelly.
Kelly has seen some of the most horrible crimes imaginable but still he has hope in justice and a recovery for the survivors.
I can’t explain it all but they have an intercore that you’ve never seen before.
Warning signs can include appearing malnourished, showing signs of physical injuries and abuse, avoiding eye contact, seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction, lacking official identification documents and appearing destitute/lacking personal possessions.