Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel teamed with the Wayland Police Department to put two West Michiganders behind bars.
51-year-old Robert Grisgby of Wayland and 39-year-old Vanessa Phillips are both facing several years in prison for their roles of running a prostitution ring throughout the Grand Rapids area.
Nessel commended the Wayland Police Department for their investigation on the two individuals.
Our partnerships with local law enforcement agencies like the Wayland Police Department make it possible to pursue these predators wherever they are operating in Michigan.
The Wayland PD began the investigation in 2018 after receiving training on human trafficking. They soon discovered a prostitution ring being run out of a home in Wayland and
...uncovered evidence of commercial sexual activity and transporting women for illegal activities from which the accused allegedly profited.
That home belonged to Grisgby, the man being accused.
Wayland's Police Chief said they are very proud they were able to save the lives of the victims, including one woman who has made the decision to change her life for the positive.
The suspects were arraigned in the Allegan County Court on the following charges, all felonies:
- Forced Labor/Commercial Sex (Sex Trafficking), punishable by up to 15 years in prison
- Accepting Earnings of Prostitution, up to 20 years
- Transportation for Prostitution, up to 20 years
- Conspiracy to Conduct a Criminal Enterprise, up to 20 years
Transportation for Prostitution was the only felony the accused woman wasn't charged with.
Since 2011, the Attorney General's Office has arrested more than 30 people for sex trafficking, with 24 of those leading to a conviction. There are cases that are currently pending against several other people.
It's scary to think that human trafficking is happening right here in Grand Rapids but it's actually a huge problem in Michigan. It's one of the top 10 states with the highest rates of it. Get more info about identifying and reporting human trafficking here.