Human Trafficking Investigation in Michigan
Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings faces 15 charges over his involvement
According to The Detroit Free Press, The charges against Stuart Dunnings grew out of a federal investigation into a Michigan-based human trafficking ring which took place in 2015. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan filed federal charges in that case against human trafficking ring leader Tyrone Smith in July 2015. On November 25, 2015, Tyrone Smith pleaded guilty and now awaits sentencing on three counts of sex trafficking young girls and women, including one minor.
Following the federal investigation into Tyrone Smith, members of the Michigan Attorney General’s office, FBI, and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office jointly conducted an additional investigation with information provided by witnesses in the federal investigation of Smith, which led to Stuart Dunnings.
The investigation resulted in evidence that Stuart Dunnings, the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney, allegedly paid for commercial sex (engaging in prostitution) hundreds of times in three counties (Ingham, Clinton and Ionia), with multiple women, between 2010 – 2015. Contact with these women allegedly took place via escort websites.
Furthermore, evidence showed that Dunnings also allegedly induced a woman to become a prostitute who had not previously been one, resulting in the charge of Pandering, a 20-year felony.
Attorney General Schuette has made fighting this crime a priority by creating the first-ever human trafficking prosecution unit in his office and by helping create the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission. From Michigan.gov:
We live in a time where people wonder if government actually works. People wonder if the system is rigged. People wonder whether we have a "wink and a nod" justice system where the chosen few skate and escape punishment because of who they know or because they hold an important position in government. Well, let me be very direct and crystal clear. The system in Michigan is not rigged. Not on my watch.
Schuette also made a personal statement:
I have worked with Stuart Dunnings while I have served as Attorney General. I am saddened that an elected official who holds a special trust from voters and is the chief prosecutor in our capital city would allegedly engage in conduct causing felony and misdemeanor charges to be filed.”
The next meeting of the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission will be on April 26, 2016, followed by meetings on July 27 and November 2, 2016.