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Two men, acting as pimps, were charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with sex trafficking and exploiting 13 women, according to officials with the Racine Police Department.

Part of the FBI’s nationwide effort to reduce human trafficking among juveniles; the sting involved a number of law enforcement agencies as part of the Racine County Human Trafficking Task Force called “Cross Country.”

“The local operation was successful due to the incredible cooperation from the surrounding agencies,” said Deputy Chief Todd Schulz, of the Racine Police Department. “We continue to focus on working together to recover sex trafficking victims and bring those that exploit them to justice.”

Kenyon Thomas, 23, of Milwaukee, was charged with solicitation of prostitutes on Friday. If convicted of the charge, Thomas faces up to six years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

Dariel Smith, 27, of Racine, was charged with solicitation of prostitutes and keeping a place of prostitution. If convicted of both charges, Smith faces up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators set up a sting by contacting a woman who had an escort ad on a website Racinewww.backpage.com. Investigators set up a meeting with the woman at the Racine Riverside Inn at 12:15 a.m. Friday. At the motel, the woman agreed to perform a sexual act for the man in exchange for $200. The woman was taken into custody.

While being questioned, she told the police that Thomas posted the ad and that he was the one texting the investigator when he set up the date. He was also in the room next door. Thomas had approached her to “post an ad and make money.” The 19-year-old woman had boarded a bus in Milwaukee and she dropped off several blocks away from the motel, which was in Thomas’ name. The woman told police he had done this was several other women.

Another undercover officer arranged a meeting with a woman who agreed to perform a sexual act for money at the Days Inn, 13340 Hospitality Court, in Mount Pleasant. The woman told police that Smith managed her involvement in prostitution and there were other women also involved. She told them that Smith set up the background page, posted his cell phone number and took a cut of the money she received.

She also told police that Smith also arranged dates for her and four other girls at his home at 1301 9th St., in Racine.

Smith is being held on a probation hold and  his bail has been set at $10,000. Thomas’ bail was set at $5,000.

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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