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Pair accused of running brothel: Man convicted trafficking homeless teen for sex

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A man and a woman were arrested for allegedly running a sex trafficking ring out of an apartment in Dunwoody.

Eric James Hall, 46 and Afiong Bassey Okon, 27, were arrested on several charges including: trafficking a person for sexual servitude, pimping, keeping a place of prostitution and violation of the racketeer influenced and correction act, Dunwoody police said Friday.

The investigation began May 27 when officers responded to the Gables Metropolitan Apartment Complex in DeKalb Count after getting a report of a domestic dispute, police spokesman Officer Tim Fecht said. It turned out that someone had heard arguing in the apartment and called police, he said.

But when officers arrived, they learned that there was more to it than just a simple issue of a disturbance, Fecht said.

During the course of the investigation, detectives determined that the pair was allegedly operating a brothel.

So far, police have discovered two victims, but they expect to find more, Fecht said.

Anyone with information about this case or anyone who is a victim is asked to contact Det. Andrew Thompson at (678) 382-6921 or email him at andrew.thompson@dunwoodyga.gov.

Buckhead Man Convicted of Trafficking Homeless Teen For Sex

A man forced a homeless teen from West Africa to have sex with strangers in exchange for a place to stay.

And on Friday Steven E. Thompson was convicted by a federal jury of sex trafficking of a juvenile, conspiring to do the same, and transportation for prostitution, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

“This defendant maintained his lifestyle on money made through prostitution,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “Thompson had no problem with sexually exploiting women, even going as far as forcing a homeless 17-year old to have sex with strange men for a place to sleep. Sex trafficking is despicable.”

Prosecutors said Thompson and his co-defendant, Tierra Waters who pled guilty to conspiracy to sex-traffic a minor, lived in the Grandview Condominiums in the Buckhead area.

Thompson advertised his prostitution business on Backpage.com, posting advertisements inviting men to contact women for sex, officials said. The men then came to the Buckhead condo for sex or met the women at residences or hotels around Atlanta, prosecutors said.

Between April and June of 2011, Thompson advertised a 17-year old refugee from West Africa for prostitution, falsely listing her age as 19 and 20, officials said. Because she came to the United States without her parents, the teen was at the mercy of various relatives and friends for shelter and support and went through frequent periods of homelessness, prosecutors said.

In February of 2011, the teen was declared a deprived child by the Clayton County Juvenile Court and placed in a temporary shelter, they said. Her grandmother took custody of her, but soon left the country, leaving the teen to fend for herself.

In April 2011, Thompson and Waters offered the homeless teenager a couch to sleep on while she waited to get into Job Corps. After a few weeks, they told her that she would have to have sex with men for money or get out of the condo.

For the next six weeks, the teen was forced to have sex with three to five men each night at the condo and other places around Atlanta. The teen was arrested in an undercover operation at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta on June 11, 2011.

A customer testified at trial that he had found the minor on Backpage.com, not realizing she was underage, prosecutors said. This witness also testified that he received threatening text messages from Thompson advising him of the teen's age and attempting to extort money.

In addition to the teen, Thompson, 43, also met two prostitutes from Seattle, Washington and Alabama through Backpage.com in 2011 and convinced them to come to Atlanta where they could make more money.

‘"The sale of under-aged girls for sex is a plague on our society and my agents will not rest while we know there are more victims out there being exploited by these 'pimps' who should be more accurately known as child rapists,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta.

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