Couple convicted of human trafficking in Oxford

U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar has announced that Mario D. Collins of Memphis, Tennessee and Paulette M. Clayton of Atlanta, Georgia have been convicted on sex trafficking charges stemming from an arrest back in April.

An investigation conducted by the Oxford Police Department and the FBI revealed that a female victim was transported from Atlanta to Oxford by Collins and Clayton and was forced to engage in prostitution.

OPD officers responded to an Oxford motel on April 27, 2017, after receiving a 911 call indicating that the victim was being held against her will. Collins and Clayton were then arrested in the hotel parking lot, and the victim was recovered from inside the hotel.

OPD Officers Joshua Shipp and Brandon Jenkins were among the officers who initially responded to the 911 call and assisted throughout the investigation and trial of the case.

Following the conviction, Lamar says all levels of law enforcement must work together to put an end to this crime.

“Human trafficking is not a victimless crime. Women, many of whom are very young, are often coerced into prostitution by predators, taken advantage of, and are frequently victims of violence. Along with federal, state and local law enforcement, we will continue to address this problem in our District and prosecute those responsible.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze echoed Lamar’s statements and said that trafficking is a widespread issue.

“Human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, and must be addressed at the interagency level. Partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are key in these types of cases, and we appreciate everyone involved in bringing justice to those being trafficked,” Agent Freeze said.

A media release stated that sentencing will happen at a later date. Both Collins and Clayton face up to ten years in prison.