MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man classified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as violent sex offender was taken into custody again after a woman claimed she was the victim of sex trafficking.
Jamarius Strickland was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with trafficking for commercial sex acts.
According to the victim, Strickland and another woman recruited her. Court documents state he “promised to provide protection, food clothing and personal needs” to a woman “as long as she gave him the money received from going on sex dates with men.”
The pair then set up online ads on various dating websites, she said. If no one responded to the ad, Strickland would force her to walk on Lamar Avenue to solicit customers.
Several months after being recruited, the woman contacted police saying she had been physically assaulted by Strickland. She said she wanted help getting away from him.
After the call with police, she said Strickland picked her up and forced her to continue going on dates. He then took her cellphone and wouldn’t allow her to contact anyone.
It appears she was eventually able to call for help again several days later.
Strickland was finally taken into custody on Tuesday.
According to court records obtained by WREG this is not the first time Strickland has been in trouble with the law.
In January 2018, he was charged with two counts of aggravated assault which he later pleaded guilty to in August. He was sentenced to three years probation.
The judge told WREG he believed it was part of a plea deal and says with the new arrest, it’s possible Strickland spends the rest of his probation behind bars.
Also last year, Strickland was convicted of human trafficking involving three women in Middle Tennessee. He was sentenced to nine years probation.
He is a registered violent sex offender with the TBI.
In October 2018, he was picked up after he was found to be in violation of the sex offender act.
Authorities said he was actively using an email and Snapchat account that had not been disclosed to the state. Court records show he only spent two days in jail.
The TBI’s rap sheet includes other arrests from across the state that include aggravated assault, commercial sex acts and kidnapping.
Rachel Haaga with Restore Corps, a nonprofit working to eradicate human trafficking by empowering survivors, said victims of sex trafficking “don`t feel like they have choices or options to get away, and he forces them to sell their bodies for his benefit.”
“If someone is in desperate need, food, water, clothing, especially if they are juvenile runaways or even adults, they don`t have anywhere else to go,” Haaga said. “The trafficker can pull on those needs.”
Haaga says Strickland’s case is just a small glimpse into a bigger problem.
“We continue to need more services for these survivors in our community,” she said.
January is National Human Trafficking Month and already they’ve been asked to help 14 victims. Three are juveniles.
“Unless we bring our eyes up and look into the eyes of the vulnerable, we will never be able to help them,” she said.
Haaga said as more people reach out, they need more resources like hygiene bags, donations and volunteers.
If you’d like to help out: https://www.restorecorps.org/get-involved/