CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man convicted of recruiting girls and women into a life of prostitution, beating them if he thought they withheld money or would go to the police was handed a life sentence Tuesday in a Charlotte courtroom.
Judge Robert Conrad Jr. described the evidence of torture and exploitation as horrific and ordered Shahid Muslim to pay restitution to two of his victims.
"The emotional trauma is 10 times worse than the physical trauma that they might endure," Kailey with Lily Pad Haven, an organization that provides transitional services to human trafficking victims, said.
Tuesday's verdict is significant for all victims of trafficking, Kailey, who did not want release her last name, said.
"They're going to look at this as an example and say, 'Look I have a chance, I have a chance to come forward and this person that's doing this to me is going to be brought to justice,’" she said.
Muslim became disruptive in court while Judge Conrad was speaking. Muslim had to be physically restrained and removed from the courtroom before coming back to hear his sentence.
Showing no remorse for his crimes, Muslim used his only opportunity to address the court to discuss his concerns about his attorney, Conrad and to claim the transcript of his trial had been altered.
Kailey said she's hopeful this case will bring more attention to all the others.
"Charlotte has a huge trafficking problem," she said.
She got four phone calls from victims Tuesday alone. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they've recently put together a task force to deal with the increase in cases. It's something Kailey said the whole community needs to get behind.
"It's something we have to continue to educate ourselves on and the more that you're aware the more you can give a voice to voiceless," Kailey said.
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