A man accused of forcing a woman to come to Mobile and work as a prostitute during Mardi Gras pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges in federal court Thursday.
According to United States Attorney Richard W. Moore, 22-year old Tee-Henry Wulu Currens entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Terry Moorer nearly three months after
being arrested by officers from the Robertsdale Police Department.
On March 2, RPD officers were dispatched to a local gas station after a woman called 911 saying she’d been forced to work as a prostitute for months in Florida and Alabama. The call came in as the victim and Currens were stopped to get gas in Baldwin County.
Court records indicate Currens met the female victim while she was working as a
prostitute in Jacksonville, Florida, and initially was a client of hers. Soon after, he volunteered
to work as her driver and provide security, but things eventually turned violent.
“The victim told investigators Currens became abusive, controlling and forced her to meet with clients,” a press release from Moore’s office reads. “Currens would subsequently keep all the money from the trafficking event. [She] stated that Currens would force her to have sex with clients and that he would physically beat her if she refused to be trafficked.”
According to federal prosecutors, Currens had forced the woman to travel with him from Panama City, Florida, to the Mobile area “for the purpose of trafficking her during Mardi Gras celebrations” earlier this year. The victim was able to alert authorities on March 2, 2019.
When police arrived at the gas station where the victim had called 911, RPD officers noted she was visibly upset and had “bruising on her head, face and legs consistent with an assault.” After being detained, Currens supposedly admitted to what the victim had told the police.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and the threats and abuse inflicted on these particular victims only adds to the heinous nature of the crime,” Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta Nick Annan said. “HSI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to find and prosecute criminal traffickers while ensuring the victims of this terrible crime are rescued and get the care they need.”
The prevalence of human trafficking in the Mobile Bay area was the focus of this week’s Lagniappe cover feature. You can find that story, the first of a five-part series, by contributing writer Lynn Oldshue at lagniappemobile.com.
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