Special Investigations Unit busts human trafficking operation

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published April 5, 2019

 Donald Beauchamp

Donald Beauchamp

MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Special Investigations Unit has completed its second human trafficking bust this year, showing rapid results since it was reinstated in January.

The announcement came late last month with the March 25 arrest of Donald Beauchamp, 31, at the Rodeway Inn Hotel, 32703 Stephenson Highway in Madison Heights.

He has been charged with one count of prostitution/pandering, a 20-year felony; two counts of human trafficking — forced labor, a 10-year felony; and one count of keeping a house of prostitution, a five-year felony.

He was arraigned in Madison Heights 43rd District Court and given a total bond of $50,000 cash/surety. As part of the bond condition, he is not allowed to have contact with the victims, nor can he go to any hotels or motels within the city.

At press time, Beauchamp did not yet have an attorney.

The victims in the case include a 21-year-old woman from River Rouge and a 23-year-old  woman from Novi. No additional information about them is being released.

The human trafficking bust at the Rodeway Inn Hotel came together in the span of two days, according to Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines. He also said that the women in the case will receive the help that they need.

“The victims in this case, as well as the victims in the other cases we have investigated, will be taken care of to the best of our abilities,” Haines said. “We have many resources, including shelters, federal and local agencies that are helping us with placement and care of the victims.”

This latest case comes in the wake of another human trafficking bust where James Yun, 36, was arrested Feb. 12 at the Days Inn Hotel, 1331 W. 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

Yun was arraigned in Madison Heights 43rd District Court on one count of prostitution/accepting earnings, a 20-year felony; one count of prostitution/transporting a person, a 20-year felony; one count of human trafficking — forced labor, a 10-year felony; and one count of keeping a house of prostitution, a five-year felony. At press time, he was in the Oakland County Jail awaiting trial.

Yun’s attorney, Randall Lewis, did not return a call for comment by press time.  

Haines said that the SIU’s primary goal has been to clean up the city’s hotels and motels. Last summer, Haines said that in the past two years, police in Madison Heights had responded to nearly 860 calls for service at just three of the city’s 11 hotels and motels. Drugs, prostitution and human trafficking have been recurring concerns. Some cases have even involved minors.

Earlier in 2018, Madison Heights City Councilman David Soltis reached out to executives of local hotel chains, asking them to put pressure on their franchisees to better police themselves. Then in the fall, he and the rest of the City Council adopted an ordinance that allows the city to penalize high-crime hotels and motels, providing extra incentive to comply. And then at its meeting Oct. 8, the City Council approved the return of the SIU, which had been cut in 2010 as a cost-saving measure during the Great Recession.

Savings from the gun range renovation project at the Madison Heights Police Department helped fund the creation of the new SIU, which was formed with existing staff, including an officer who had been assigned to the Troy SIU and a new officer who was hired in the current fiscal year.

The SIU also assisted Ferndale police last month in a human trafficking bust at Relax Spa, 751 E. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, helping to rescue an undisclosed number of women.

“I just want to say that the Special Investigations Unit has been outstanding since they began their work on Jan. 21, 2019,” Haines said. “They have done a thorough job with these investigations and have rescued multiple victims from human trafficking.”