“I feel like justice was served today,” said Sergeant Robert Armstrong of the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division after a 50 year sentence was handed down to Ronald McBride for human trafficking and 5 other felonies.
The unnamed victim was abused and forced into prostitution for months. She told police she couldn’t leave because, “He owns me.” McBride forced her to give him all the money she made. He was her slave.
Over the months that McBride controlled his victim, “He became violent. Increasingly violent over the time period that he was essentially pimping this particular victim,” says Brooke Kernan, assistant state attorney of the 17 Judicial Circuit.
One night, when his victim did not return, McBride found her, beat her with his gun, and left her to die. She was eventually able to make her way to the busy Tamiami Trail where a bystander found her and called 911. She found a way out of his grasp.
This survivor was incredibly brave to reach out for help. This step led to his arrest and sentence. “Ronald McBride received 50 years today and that sentence is a very long time for him to sit and think about what he’s done,” Armstrong said. “Every day we fight against human trafficking in our community and we will continue to do so.”
Tuesday’s sentence was the first conviction for human trafficking in Sarasota County, Florida.
We commend the efforts of the Sarasota Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office in this matter and are grateful for our friends at Selah Freedom whose care for the victim enabled her to find healing and the courage to stand up to her trafficker in court. She is very brave and is blessed to have such a wonderful community supporting her.
This conviction is a wonderful step in the right direction to show that our state will not tolerate modern-day slavery.
Pictures Courtesy WWSB MySuncoast News