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Prostitution under investigation at Emporia truck stop

September 15, 2011|By Melissa Scheffler | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
Eyewitness News reporter Melissa Scheffler

(EMPORIA, Kan.) — The Flying J was more than just a truck stop Saturday night.  Emporia Police Chief Gary Smith says an accused pimp from Wichita used it as a business venture.  He says Lamonte Brown took a break from a road trip to Kansas City, to earn some extra cash.

Brown was travelling with two women and a teenager.

"Once we figured out that there was a 16 year old involved, we were a little concerned,” Smith said.

According to a police report, officers found a stolen van at the truck stop with the two women and teen nearby.  But before they could question Brown, he ran off into the woods.

"Brown has a fairly lengthy history in Sedgwick County.  He has been identified as a known associate with one of the local gangs there,” Smith said.

Chief Smith says an eyewitness was instrumental to exposing this case.  A call came from a victim's advocate passing through the area.  Chief Smith says the advocate saw the young girl knocking on truck doors.  So she called police.  A victim's center here in Emporia says keep in mind, the 16 year old isn't the only victim here.

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"The focus has been on the 16 year old as part of the human trafficking.  But, the nature of adult women being bought and sold in prostitution is also human trafficking,” Lori Moore of SOS said.

Chief Smith says the teen is in juvenile custody.  But she's not cooperating.

"Perhaps she feels safer where she is at... Perhaps she was threatened if she comes forward and cooperates.  It may be coming from a place of fear,” Moore said.

Her story and the rest of this case are now in the hands of state and federal authorities.  Chief Smith says those agencies are looking into whether this stop in Emporia was part of a bigger human trafficking ring.

The two women with Brown were arrested for alleged prostitution.  Officers also arrested another man for patronizing a prostitute.  Brown is considered dangerous.  If you see him, call police.

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