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Baton Rouge man allegedly sex-trafficked girls who ran away from DCFS custody; state releases statement

1 year 1 month 2 weeks ago Friday, April 07 2023 Apr 7, 2023 April 07, 2023 9:55 AM April 07, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Officials arrested a man for allegedly sex trafficking two teenage girls while they were in DCFS custody after they stole his car and fled.

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The Louisiana Department of Public Safety arrested Chad Armstead, 29, on Thursday for two counts of human trafficking and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. 

According to arrest records, the two 16-year-old girls first made contact with Armstead after one of the girls' friends allegedly catfished him. One of the victims met Armstead in person, and the two allegedly had sex before he took pictures of her. The girl said he later posted those images on a "sex advertisement website."

The victim also noted she had to seek treatment for a sexually transmitted disease after having sex with Armstead.

Some of the locations used for the illegal meet-ups included a Paradise Inn on Airline Highway, the OYO Hotel on Gwenadele Avenue and the Motel 6 at Rieger Road. 

The girl told police that Armstead forced her to have sex with multiple men, telling state investigators that Armstead was "selling us for sex." When she did not want to have sex, she claims he hit her.

The second girl met Armstead through the first, at which point Armstead took pictures of them together to post to the sex advertisement website. She added that they were forced to work in "shifts," with her being forced into sex work in the early morning to catch men as they were getting off work from "the plant."

A DCFS caseworker found messages between the two girls and Armstead, and investigators found images of the girls uploaded to the website.

The two girls ran away from DCFS custody with Armstead on Feb. 24. Days later, on Feb. 27, the two girls said they took Armstead's car after he stepped out of it and threw a phone out of the vehicle, fearing Armstead would use it to track them.  They were involved in a hit and run hour later, and the other driver contacted police and followed them to Cortana Place in Baton Rouge, where BRPD officers first found them. 

Armstead was booked Thursday on two counts of human trafficking and one count of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. 

The Department of Children and Family Services released the following statement Friday afternoon in response to the WBRZ report. 

As Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, it is with grief and concern that I address the recent news story of two sixteen-year-old juveniles who ran away from and were being trafficked by a man police say lured them using social media. While I cannot comment on specific cases, I would like to express that DCFS takes issues of human trafficking very seriously and has taken a proactive approach in the fight against it.

Our agency created a juvenile sex trafficking hotline that went live at the beginning of this year with the goal of encouraging the public to report suspected cases of juvenile trafficking. Since then, we have received 91 calls, with reports of 123 children who may be victims of trafficking. As a result of these calls, we have opened 44 investigations.

We want to assure the public that we are committed to working with law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators of trafficking and to provide services to victims. We acknowledge the trauma that these victims and their families have experienced, and we are working towards providing stability and support for them.

Once again, we encourage anyone who suspects a child may be a victim of human trafficking to contact our hotline immediately. We are committed to the safety of all children in Louisiana and will continue to work towards eradicating this heinous crime. The hotline (1-855-4LA-KIDS or 1-855-452-5437) is toll-free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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