Police: Man involved in human trafficking and promoting prostitution

Published: Aug. 5, 2013 at 10:52 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2013 at 10:52 PM EDT
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Dennis Elliott (Source: LMDC)
Dennis Elliott (Source: LMDC)
Dwight Mitchell
Dwight Mitchell
Robin Valenzuela
Robin Valenzuela

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police have a man in custody on charges of human trafficking and promoting prostitution. Dennis Elliott, 34, was arrested August 2 at home in the 300 block of East Kentucky Street.

Between January and May, police said Elliott forced a 23 year old woman, who he used to have a relationship with, into prostitution. Authorities say the victim was forced to have sex with as many as three to four men at one time and well over 100 during the time frame she was held.

Police say Elliott also abused the victim. Somehow she managed to get help from friends and got away from Elliott.

"Most of these cases they are threatened when they leave," said Dwight Mitchell, a LMPD spokesperson. "There is a physiological mountain that is built around the victim obviously fearing for their lives at this point."

Robin Valenzuela with the Center for Women and Families said cases like these are more common than you would think. The suspects usually target victims who are vulnerable.

"That could be a variety of factors that could be socio-economic status, substance abuse issues they might have, certain emotional vulnerabilities they might have because they come from a broken home," said Valenzuela.

According to Valenzuela, many victims get trapped because of how mentally debilitating the experience becomes, they feel like they can't escape. To help bring awareness, something as simple as soap is placed at area hotels.

"SOAP stands for Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution," said Valenzuela.

On the bar of soap is the number to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. It could mean the difference between being trapped by abuse or getting out of that world.

Valenzuela said this past Derby, which is a high time for human trafficking, they also placed lip gloss and chap stick at area hotels for the National Human Trafficking hotline.

Elliott is at Metro Corrections on $100,000 bond.

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