Police said a 16-year-old girl escaped her sex trafficker in February and have now arrested the man they believe is responsible. South Fulton Police said the alleged victim had a terrible past that began on social media.
“It has been shown in interviews that this child was introduced to this subject at the age of 14. He was with a man three times her age.” South Fulton Police Captain Marcus Dennard said Thursday.
Captain Dennard said they believe 22-year-old Ashanti Coles used social media to lure the young girl into an alleged sex trafficking operation with other men in southern Fulton County. On February 9, police said she was badly beaten but managed to escape.
“She ran into a patrol when she escaped, and that’s where the investigation began,” Dennard said.
After more than a month of questioning, police said Thursday morning that they had issued a search warrant at Swansea Court. There they arrested Coles and charged him with a heavy battery, strangulation, rape and cruelty to a child. Detectives said they believe there are more victims.
“Sex trafficking, human trafficking, and kidnapping. It’s your next-door neighbor who just turned 19. You know these are people you went to school with that you would never believe would be.” Behaviors are involved, “Dennard said.
According to the police, three suspects were arrested for questioning and one was released. The authorities are now encouraging parents to remain aware of this.
“It’s no longer the white van, but Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook,” said the captain.
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