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Call to 911 sparked human-trafficking investigation in Atlantic City

A victim’s call to Atlantic City police sparked an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution last week, according to information released at detention hearings Tuesday for two of those accused.
Jovana Jensen and Laraza White were ordered held pending trial. They along with Galen Spriggs are charged with first-degree human trafficking and and third-degree promoting prostitution. Spriggs’ detention hearing was postponed to Friday.
The alleged victim — a 23-year-old woman identified only at C.A. — called 911 at 7:46 a.m., telling police two women assaulted her at the Baymont Inn on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer told Superior Court Judge Michael Blee.
C.A. told police that she had been brought there from Massachusetts, and been held captive for weeks, according to the charges.
White, 24, at times shook her head and mouthed the word “untrue” when Blee read the police narrative.
The investigation is ongoing, Flammer said. It was led by the the FBI’S Child Exploitation Task Force, which focuses on human trafficking in the area.
Jensen’s attorney, John Zarych, presented character letters to the judge from the 37-year-old woman’s brother, mother and daughter. But it wasn’t enough to convince him she should be released.
Neither was public defender Eric Shenkus’ argument that White has no criminal history and is considered the lowest risk under the bail reform’s new public safety assessment.
CA told police she had been invited into the Revere, Mass., home where the three defendants lived together, and everything was fine at first. But then, she was forced to stay and then taken to Atlantic City, where they put her on the street and demanded she make money for sex.
She told police when she didn’t make enough money, she was beaten.
Jensen was found in possession of the woman’s identification and cell phone when police searched two rooms at Bally’s Atlantic City.
The home in Revere also was searched, and Flammer said he has been told a grand jury is hearing charges against the three, which will likely result in indictments there.

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