Victim subjected to torture to gain compliance
■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
Just one day before The Valley Chronicle published a special section on the scourge of human trafficking in Hemet and San Jacinto, members of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RCAHT Task Force) arrested Hemet resident Lawrence Randall on suspicion of human trafficking right here in Hemet. And it’s not the first time a human trafficker has been arrested in the valley.
The RCAHT Task Force assumed the investigation involving allegations that Randall forced a 19-year-old female to commit acts of prostitution in Hemet, San Bernardino, Pomona and Palm Springs. These prostitution activities were advertised online or occurred on the streets of well-known prostitution corridors in those cities.
Randall forced the unidentified victim to participate in commercial sex acts through threats or acts of violence against her, including Randall choking the victim, hitting her head against a wall, threatening her with a firearm, and burning lit cigarettes against her bare skin. The victim engaged in prostitution for Randall from March through mid-April of 2017.
On Wednesday, May 10, RCAHT Task Force officers, with assistance from the Hemet Police Department and Gang Impact Team, located and arrested Randall driving in the area of N. Santa Fe Street near E. Oakland Avenue in the city of Hemet. Shortly thereafter, task force officers served a residential search warrant in the 600 block of E. Devonshire Ave. in Hemet. The residence was searched and evidence related to the investigation was seized.
Randall, 31, was subsequently booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta on charges of human trafficking, pimping, pandering, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a parole violation. Randall is being held without bail due to the parole violation.
In addition to the cooperative victim, at least one additional female working under Lawrence’s direction has been positively identified and contacted by law enforcement through this investigation. The RCAHT Task Force strongly believes there are additional victims who have yet to come forward. Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to contact Deputy Christina Pierson of the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. Deputy Pierson can be reached at (951) 955-1700 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RCAHT Task Force was formed in 2010 to address crimes involving the exploitation of victims via force, fraud, or coercion. These cases often involve the commercial sex trafficking of children, as well as incidents of forced labor, indentured servitude, debt bondage, or slavery. The RCAHT Task Force is a multidisciplinary task force which combines the investigative resources of both local and federal law enforcement. The RCAHT Task Force also provides victim services and education/outreach through partnerships with the non-profit groups Operation SafeHouse and Million Kids. The law enforcement component of RCAHT is currently composed of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, the Hemet Police Department, the Riverside Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.