Three Disney Employees Implicated in Human Trafficking Investigation

( – The Department of Justice (DOJ) describes human trafficking as a criminal act encouraging or forcing another person to either work or engage in commercial acts. That can include physical or psychological coercion. For minors, the offense is more broad, encompassing the exploitation of the child using any form of force — including fraud. The DOJ states that victims of this heinous act can be found across many industries like child care, hotels, massage parlors, salons, and factories. Along the same vein, offenders participating in such crimes include people from every walk of life, even those working at the most magical place in America — Walt Disney World.

What Happened?

On September 29, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced the arrest of 219 people in a week-long human trafficking sting. Some of those suspects included a teacher and three people who worked at Disney in Orlando.

Sheriff Grady Judd held a press conference talking about the success of the operation labeled “Traffic Stop 2.” He said 83 out of the 219 people arrested are accused of soliciting a prostitute. Also taken into custody during the sting were 119 prostitutes, 21 of whom may be human trafficking victims.

The teacher arrested was Russell Rogers from Winter Haven, Florida. He’s reportedly married with children, is an instructor at Auburndale High School, and an athletic director at Vanguard School. Authorities are accusing him of negotiating with a prostitute. Polk County Schools released a statement after his arrest relaying the administrator’s disappointment in Rogers’ alleged behavior. The school is reportedly in the process of firing him.

The Disney employees were Kenneth Green, Marquis Nixon, and Carlos Ro. Police stated that Green is a training coordinator, Nixon works in security, and Ro is a custodian. Authorities didn’t specify their exact charges.

Who Else Was Arrested?

According to the press release, 35 suspects are believed to be in the US illegally from the Bahamas, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia. Three of the 35 were human trafficking victims. According to police, 41 suspects were married, 42 brought illegal drugs to the location, 2 had firearms, and 18 of them were from 10 states outside of Florida. Their ages ranged from 18 to 76 years old.

Judd said the results of the operation helped to bring the total of human trafficking victims identified by the department so far this year to 45.

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