Detroit police, FBI save teen girls from sex traffickers, youth shelter blamed

A disturbing story of sex traffickers targeting teenage girls in Detroit is coming to light as a family found out their loved one is one of the victims.

Police are still investigating but right now two men, a 21- and an 18-year-old, are under arrest for what allegedly happened to that young lady and another teenage girl. They are said to have been runaways from a state licensed shelter on Detroit's east side.

FOX 2: "Do you feel like the state failed your granddaughter?"

"One thousand percent, the state failed my granddaughter," said Ronnie Bailey.

Bailey's 15-year-old granddaughter was raped, drugged and nearly taken to Georgia to be sold for sex after Detroit police say she and another teen ran away from the Davenport emergency shelter on Detroit's east side.

Her family says she went missing from the state contracted facility on E. Grand Blvd Monday night. The girl, a ward of the state, had only been there for a few hours. Her family says a case worker had the teen transferred there from a facility in Albion against their wishes.

"My son-in-law, her father, after he found out he told them, 'Do not put her there,'" Bailey said.

Sources in DPD tell FOX 2 there have been several reports of girls running away from the shelter and later being sexually assaulted.

The sex crimes unit is investigating at least one other case involving the shelter from last year. Police Chief James Craig addressed this latest incident during a press conference Thursday.

"The missing young lady was abducted and she was sexually assaulted," Craig said. "And from that, the suspect was preparing for her and another female, that was also missing from the same location, they were going to move them to Atlanta to continue this sex trafficking activity."

Investigators found the girls after the 15-year-old's mother went to police when she received a text message Wednesday demanding a ransom for her daughter's life.

"They said they had a gun to her head and was going to kill her because she didn't want to go to Atlanta," said Bailey.

Frank Pickett works in the area and says girls leave the shelter every night like clockwork.

"It's a trip, this place here is a trip," he said. "They can come and go as they please. If this is a youth home, how can they do that?"

"We secure them. We have staff here to secure them in this building here," said a worker at the facility.

FOX 2: "But it seems like they can leave whenever they want. This is not a lockdown facility."

We spoke with a staffer at the shelter who told us they cannot physically keep the girls from leaving.

FOX 2: "Girls have been leaving this place and there are allegations that once they leave here some have gotten involved in sex trafficking, sexually assaulted, that has to be a concern for you guys. I'm assuming."

"I'm not sure how to address that because they have issues coming into this facility," the worker said. "It's a girls’ shelter: they're taken out of their environment for whatever reason and placed here temporarily."

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released a statement:

"Davenport Shelter is licensed by MDHHS as a child-caring agency for youth who are in the care of the department. Case specifics about children in the care of the department are confidential. MDHHS takes very seriously its duty to protect the safety and well-being of children and thoroughly investigates child safety issues at licensed facilities. Human trafficking of vulnerable children is a national problem that is of extreme concern to the department.

We will investigate the information that has been reported to us."