Five charged with human trafficking

DOVER — Five arrests were made after federal and state law enforcement agencies uncovered an alleged human trafficking operation involving two underage teens, police said Monday.

Delaware State Police said the victims were females ages 16 and 17, including a juvenile that had been reported missing by a foster parent on March 27. The parent indicated the missing youth may have been offered as a prostitute at the website www.backpage.com.

On May 8, the parent contacted the State Police Troop 3 Criminal Investigation Unit about her concerns as an investigation began, spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said.

“Detectives located a listing on the webpage that displayed photographs appearing to be the missing teen and were able to confirm her identity through the foster parent,” Cpl. Fournier said in a news release.

Jason Haith, 18, of Dover and his girlfriend Jessica A. Hutkin, 34, of Smyrna were allegedly linked to a phone number listed on the site, authorities said.

Jason Haith

Jessica A. Hutkin

On Friday, State Police began a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Wilmington office and the Delaware Department of Justice.

“Investigators called the phone number listed and arranged a meeting for sexual favors in exchange for compensation at a south Dover motel,” Cpl. Fournier said.

According to police a white 2017 Hyundai Sonata with New York registration arrived at the motel at approximately 1:40 p.m. that afternoon, and an alleged 16-year-old victim was observed leaving the vehicle.

“After the teen exited the vehicle, it departed and troopers conducting a traffic stop on the car,” Cpl. Fournier said.

The stop was made on Shamrock Avenue east of U.S. 13., according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Austin White

Mr. Haith, the driver, and passengers Ms. Hutkin and Austin White, 19, of Smyrna were  taken into custody without incident. The Sonata was found to be stolen in Philadelphia on April 6, police said.

As the probe continued, police found that the trio and two other suspects allegedly “allowed each other to utilize their cellular telephones to make cellular calls, send text messages, and/or connect to the Internet to arrange prostitution activities,” regarding the juveniles and prostitution activities advertised on  l said the trio and a computer inquiry revealed the Hyundai Sonata was reported stolen out of Philadelphia on April 6, 2017.

Donnell Singletary

Taliesha Haith

Also arrested were Dover residents Donnell Singletary, 32, and Taliesha Haith, 32. They were taken into custody at Mr. Haith’s residence in the 1000 block of East Lebanon Road, which police believe the alleged operation was orchestrated.

According to court papers, once alleged victim told police she had contacted Ms. Hutkin via Facebook about needing a place to live and Ms. Hutkin “propositioned the victim with prostitution.

“The victim stated the agreement was that she would prostitute herself so she would have a place to stay.”

Arranging encounters

Police said investigation found that Ms. Hutkin allegedly took photos of a juvenile to create a Backpage ad promoting her, the affidavit stated.

Two sexual encounters with an older white male were allegedly arranged at the home on East Lebanon Road, according to police in documents. Five or six sexual arrangements were also conducted at a hotel-motel, police said in papers.

One supposed client allegedly traveled to Milford for an sexual encounter costing $80, according to investigation detailed in the affidavit.

Police said a listing for sexual services include descriptions such as “very discreet,” “aim to please,” “100 (percent) satisfaction guaranteed”  and “safe and unrushed service” among other claims.

Mr. Haith and Ms. Hutkin were both charged with human trafficking – sexual servitude, second-degree promoting prostitution, receiving stolen property and second-degree conspiracy. They were arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and each held by the Delaware Department of Correction on $34,000 secured bonds.

Ms. Haith, Mr. Singletary, and Mr. White were all charged with human trafficking – sexual servitude, second-degree promoting prostitution, and second-degree conspiracy. Following arraignment at JP Court 7, the trio was transferred to the custody of the DOC on $32,000 secured bonds each.

Police said Taliesa Haith is Jason Haith’s mother, and Mr. Singletary’s sister.

Police said little information would be released due to “the sensitivity of this case, and in consideration of the victims …”

The alleged victims were turned over to the Division of Family Services for their safety, police said.

Authorities asked any potential victims or persons with information to contact Detective M. Weinstein at 698-8443 or Troop 3 Major Crimes Unit at 698-8434.
Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, online at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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