Man Who Eluded Edmond Police Suspected of Human Trafficking

Last week, a Sac and Fox tribal officer clocked a vehicle travelling at more than 100 miles per hour. The driver of the PT Cruiser refused to stop, and then led police on a high speed chase through Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. About a mile into the chase, an occupant of the vehicle began shooting at officers. After the chase continued for nearly 30 miles, stop sticks blew out the front tires of the vehicle. Ten miles later, the suspects ditched the disabled vehicle and fled on foot.

Some 16 hours later, police captured the suspected driver and passenger of the vehicle. The driver was identified as 23-year-old Joshua Ray Hudson, from Edmond, Oklahoma; his passenger was a 15-year-old girl. Reports say the teen girl loaded the gun for Hudson as he shot at pursuing officers.

Hudson was arrested on complaints of  shooting with intent to kill, eluding, a police officer, and possession of a firearm while on probation. Family members of the teen girl say she was "brainwashed" by Hudson, and believe that the girl was a victim of human trafficking. Police are investigating to determine if Hudson was prostituting the teen. Given Hudson's prior suspicion of involvement in sex trafficking in minors, it is an accusation that does not seem to be without merit. 

In 2013, when Hudson was 21 years old, he was arrested on a human trafficking complaint involving a teen prostitute. In that case, an underage officer arranged a meeting at an Oklahoma City hotel room with a teen girl. When the officer arrived, Hudson and another teen were allegedly seen leaving the room. When they were spotted in a nearby vehicle, police say they discovered an open cell phone line to the girl's cell phone in order to monitor the encounter between the teen and the "john."

Although Hudson was charged with human trafficking in that case, the charge was amended to violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. He pleaded guilty and was given an 8-year-deferred sentence. In light of the new charges, prosecutors will likely file a motion to accelerate sentencing and ask a judge to convict him of the computer crimes act violation.

It is important to remember that, although the age of consent to sexual activity in Oklahoma is 16, the age of consent does not apply to commercial sex acts--such as prostitution or exotic dancing--or to pornography. Anyone under the age of 18 who is involved in prostitution is automatically considered to be a victim of human trafficking. Anyone involved in prostituting a minor under 18 may face human trafficking charges, punishable by a minimum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. 

Image Credit: Mayor McGinn

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