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Man accused of human trafficking out of Hillsborough County motels

Deputies say the investigation was an attempt to find people involved in human trafficking in the area.
Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa man is facing human trafficking-related charges after deputies say he coerced someone to prostitute themselves.

Steven Tylor Cook was arrested Tuesday and charged with coercing for commercial sex act by human trafficking and deriving support from proceeds of prostitution. He also faces charges of possession of 10 or more counterfeit bills, transporting for prostitution, driving with a license suspended and felon in possession of a firearm.

Deputies say an undercover operation began in May at several motels in the county. Investigators were trying to find people actively involved in human trafficking by advertising sexual services on adult escort websites.

Cook was first arrested May 17 after deputies say he dropped off two women at a motel. Those women were arrested for prostitution, deputies say.

Continuing the investigation into the alleged prostitution ring, deputies say they found one person had been trafficked. Deputies say Cook was responsible for coercing that person to perform sexual acts for money.

"Human trafficking is modern slavery. It is something that I as your sheriff, and us as a community, cannot stand for,"  Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. "I am proud that our detectives didn't stop at the arrest made back in May. They knew there was more to the crimes and worked until they uncovered what was really happening. Because of that, the victim is now safe and future human trafficking at the hands of this suspect has been stopped."

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