A man and woman from North Carolina were recently federally charged with child sex trafficking in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett DeHart.
Johnny Thomas, 34, of Durham, North Carolina, and Becca Mills, 25, of Whispering Pines, North Carolina each face one count of child sex trafficking and coercion of a minor for their alleged roles in a sex trafficking scheme.
In March 2019, a 15-year-old reported to the Myrtle Beach Police that she was a runaway and she believed she was a victim of sex trafficking, according to the criminal complaint.
The girl told police that she met a man — later identified by police as Thomas — on an app called Monkey (which allegedly encourages kids to chat with strangers), according to court documents.
She told Thomas that she was wanting to run away from her grandmother’s house and the two made plans to meet up at a gas station in Clarksburg, West Virginia, according to court documents.
After meeting up at the gas station, Thomas took the 15-year-old to a Days Inn, where she met Mills and another teenager, according to court documents.
Mills and the other victim told the girl that Thomas wouldn’t hurt her if she did what she was told, according to court documents.
Thomas then raped the girl and at one point held her face up to what she thought was cocaine and made her breathe it in, the criminal complaint said.
He told her the cocaine was to “wake her up” because he was mad that the 15-year-old was tired, according to court documents (see the full criminal complaint below).MBsextrafficking
Mills and the other victim later returned to the hotel and the two girls were told they would have sex in exchange for money. When the 15-year-old objected, Thomas threatened to “sell” her, according to court documents.
When the 15-year-old tried to escape, Thomas caught her and said “you’re my b*tch, where do you think you’re going?”
The girls were then forced to pose for sex ad photos in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the 15-year-old was forced to have sex with men in exchange for money, according to court documents.
After a couple days, Thomas realized that police were searching for the 15-year-old and the group drove to Myrtle Beach, where the 15-year-old was forced to have sex with several men, according to court documents.
Thomas told the 15-year-old several times that if she would not do what she was told, he would sell her to people worse than him, according to court documents. He said people would “chain her to a bed, shoot her full of heroin, and do bad things to her.” He said he could get $1500 for selling her and this person “would slice off her toes and body parts.”
In March 2019, a federal investigator found Mills and Thomas through advertisements they posted on website called “skipthegames.com,” according to court documents.
In 2019, Mills and Thomas were both arrested on human trafficking state charges in Myrtle Beach.
Now, they face life in federal prison for federal child trafficking charges.
Earlier this year, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released the 2020 Human Trafficking report, which the top 5 counties in South Carolina are:
- Horry County
- Charleston County
- Greenville County
- Richland County
- Anderson County
Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach said that the number of child trafficking increased 178 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said experts continue to be worried about the economic effects from this virus that make people more susceptible to human trafficking.
To report a human trafficking case, call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 (BeFree).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to [email protected].
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to address proactively? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.
BANNER VIA: GETTY IMAGES