Human trafficking arrest near International Drive, community leader says it's common

Orange County Sheriff’s deputies say a human trafficking arrest made at a hotel in the tourist district off of International Drive and community members say it’s happening more than you might think.

“These criminals exploit the opportunity for those who want to buy sex,” said Tomas Lares, co-founder and chairman of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force.

The latest incident happened at the Ramada hotel on Jamaican Ct just off of International Drive.

Yankopoly Saint Pierre, 26, was arrested in the parking lot of the Ramada after deputies say he was human trafficking two juvenile runaways right out of the hotel -- giving them alcohol and drugs and posting their pictures  online.

“They’ll go meet them at the hotel room, and usually pay by the hour and sometimes a customer or what we refer to as a john, will pay longer, but we are very much aware of this,” Lares said.

Lares says that they’ve had to conduct training with thousands of hotel workers across Central Florida.

“Making sure they know what signs to look for, the red flags of human trafficking and then know how to report effectively,” Lares said. 

He said they look for signs like the form of payment used to book the room, investigators say Saint Pierre used a green dot credit card.

“They don’t want to leave a paper trail,” Lares said.

Saint Pierre is being held at the Orange County Jail without bond.