Albany man arrested in Valdosta for human trafficking - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany man arrested in Valdosta for human trafficking

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

An Albany man remained behind bars in Lowndes County Wednesday afternoon charged with human trafficking.

Monday afternoon, investigators from the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office received information about two women prostituting at America's Best Value Inn on Hill Ave.

They arrested the women, but then found out that they weren't there by choice. "When they approached the females and actually arrested them initially, they soon learned that they were victims of a human trafficking operation," Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Lt. Stryde Jones elucidated.

One of the women is from Savannah and the other from Florida and had been in Valdosta for less than a week. According to the sheriff's office, 26 year old Omar Stoute brought them to Valdosta to use them as prostitutes and threatened to hurt them if they left.

"They were basically just intimidated to the point where they felt they had to cooperate," Lt. Jones said.

Jones said the fact that I-75 runs directly through Valdosta makes the city a prime target. "Havin' the interstate here," stated Lt. Jones, "we're also a population hub. That's a normal attractor for that type of crime."

The two women had since been released and were safe as of Wednesday. "We have reunited them with friends and family and hope that they can move on successfully with their lives," Lt. Jones said.

As of Wednesday, Stoute was charged with two counts of human trafficking. 

Jones also pointed out that how Stoute met the two women, why he chose to come to Valdosta, and whether anyone else may be involved was still under investigation Wednesday afternoon.

Additional charges may be possible. Anyone with information on this case, or any other case to contact the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office at 229 671-2950 or anonymous tips can be provided at 229 671-2985 or on line at www.lowndessheriff.com.

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