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First Bust Under New Human Trafficking Law

LANSING (WWJ) - Thanks to a new state law amping up human trafficking enforcement, there has been an arrest of a Detroit man nicknamed "Gruesome."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says 32-year old Sedrick Leman-Isaac Mitchell was taken into custody in California.

Mitchell is accused of enslaving two young girls and forcing them to engage in prostitution in Detroit over the last year.

"The fact is is that when somebody like this ... holds young girls against their will, it could be an act of prostitution, it could be any in type of forced labor, it's not right, it turns your stomach and we're going to try to put an end to it," Schuette told WWJ Newsradio 950's Kathryn Larson.

"We're going to be very aggressive on this, working very hard to come down hard on those who engage in human trafficking," he said.

The charges result from an investigation by Michigan State Police and the FBI and are the first filed under the new law.

"This arrest is a huge step forward in Michigan's fight to combat human trafficking," said Bridgette Carr, Director of the University of Michigan Law School Human Trafficking Clinic, in a statement.  "We must send the message in Michigan that all victims of human trafficking will be treated like victims and those who choose to exploit them will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The leadership of Attorney General Bill Schuette is a welcome and necessary addition to the fight to combat human trafficking in Michigan."

The Michigan law banning Human Trafficking (MCL 760.462a, et seq.) went into effect on August 24, 2006. The law was strengthened in 2010, with those changes taking effect on April 1, 2011. Updates to the law included: adding human trafficking to the list of predicate offenses that fall under the state racketeering law, authorizing additional court-ordered restitution for trafficking victims and stronger penalties.

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