Human trafficking trial starts in Clearwater, Florida

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Initial composition of jury members in a human trafficking criminal trial began Tuesday in Clearwater, Florida, United States. WTVT-TV reported this may be the first such case in the Tampa Bay Area.

Pinellas County Courthouse, in Clearwater, Florida

An individual named Colin Anthony Dyer was placed under arrest in May 2009. Dyer, 37, faces charges in the case including human trafficking and sexual battery. Accusations against Dyer include human trafficking on one woman, and both sexual battery and human trafficking on another young woman.

Law enforcement officials stated Dyer along with three other individuals restrained women without their permission in a residence in Treasure Island, Florida. According to statements by those investigating the case, Dyer and his associates made these women work as prostitutes.

Other individuals that were arrested related to the case included Kenyatta Cornelius, Edward Jones, and Corinna Shaffer. The case involving Dyer is the first of these people to be heard in court at trial.

Law enforcement officials have said that Dyer raped a woman and made her work in the capacity of a prostitute at a strip club called "Vegas Showgirls", located near St. Petersburg, Florida.

Prior to admitting possible jury members into the courtroom, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters asked lawyers if a plea bargain deal had been made between the parties. Bryant Camareno, lawyer for Dyer, stated his client did not wish to plead guilty. Lawyers for the government did not give Dyer a formal plea bargain deal offer. Judge Peters queried Dyer regarding his understanding that he could be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in jail, and Dyer answered in the affirmative.

Police detectives have stated that this might be the first case in Florida dealing with the human trafficking of citizens of the United States.