On May 14, 2021, Cornell Jamar Scott-Milbourne, 25, was charged with involuntary servitude, sex trafficking, aggravated assault, sexual assault, promoting prostitution, living off prostitutes, and indecent assault. The arrest stems from alleged incidents that occurred between May 1 and May 12 in a Montgomery County Hotel.
Montgomery County detectives began the investigation into Scott-Milbourne on May 10 when they received a tip from a Hampton Inn employee who suspected that prostitution was occurring in two rooms rented by Scott-Milbourne. According to court documents, two males, three females, and a baby were staying in the rooms. Detectives found that the phone number used to rent the rooms was also being used as a contact for online advertisements for sexual services. One of the female victims allegedly told detectives that she and the other women had sex with multiple men a day for money and that all the money was given to Scott-Milbourne. She also described how Scott-Milbourne gave her drugs, threatened her and sexually assaulted her on three occasions.
Scott-Milbourne has since been taken into custody and is awaiting a preliminary hearing. District Court Judge Deborah A. Lukens set bail at $1 million cash. Montgomery District Attorney Kevin R. Steele announced that Scott-Milbourne’s arrest was the first human trafficking arrest by the new Special Victim’s unit of their detective bureau.
The CSE Institute notes that hotels and motels are among the most common venues for facilitating and financially benefitting from sex trafficking. These venues provide easy access for sex buyers and the ability to maintain financial secrecy. The Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act and the Pennsylvania Crimes Code both provide means to hold hotels accountable for sex trafficking. In fact, a recent conviction by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania found the corporate entity of a hotel guilty for sex trafficking that occurred on hotel premises. We applaud the hotel employees in this case who recognized the signs of human trafficking and reported it to authorities. Hotel employees have huge potential for helping victims being trafficked in hotels.
The CSE Institute would also like to commend the Montgomery County detectives and District Attorney’s office for investigating and prosecuting Scott-Milbourne. It is critical that authorities pursue the traffickers who profit from the exploitation of vulnerable people. We look forward to seeing the anti-trafficking work of the new Special Victim’s unit of their detective’s bureau in the future.