3 charged in connection with child sex trafficking ring in Lansing

Posted at 4:22 PM, Oct 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-03 16:22:03-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three people were charged Friday in connection with operating a child sex trafficking ring in Lansing.

According to the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Christopher Bryant, 24, of Detroit, is facing five charges, including sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.

Jonathan Purnell, 27, and Mariah Haughton, 17, both of Lansing, were charged in Ingham County in connection with the same sex trafficking ring.

The three suspects are accused of recruiting minors and advertising them online for prostitution.   They allegedly operated out of an apartment and various motels in the Lansing area.

Bryant is accused of trafficking three minors between March and July of this year.  He is also accused of transporting someone from Michigan to Arizona in August 2012 for prostitution.   He also faces a sex trafficking charge involving that same victim for September of that same year.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Haughton is accused of recruiting minors for child sexually abusive activity.  Purnell was arrested on similar charges.

“Although Haughton is only 17 years old, a federal search warrant indicates that Haughton was active in recruiting and trafficking girls for commercial sex,” the release says.