• Report: Jacksonville man used Backpage.com to advertise women for commercial sex

    By: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    STORY: Jacksonville hotel has "hookers all over the place," reviewer said

    A Jacksonville man is now in jail, charged with forcing three local women to have sex with strangers for money and keeping all the cash for himself.

    Investigators believed he used Backpage.com to advertise women for commercial sex, despite the website shutting down its adult services section in January.

    Patrick Trottie’s arrest warrant said the women tried to escape multiple times from the Quality Inn & Suites on Dix Ellis Trail in Baymeadows.

    One of the women Trottie is accused of holding captive said she ran to the lobby to call a neighbor to pick her up.

    That neighbor told investigators he found her hiding, curled up behind a dumpster with a swollen face and busted lip.

    Trottie’s arrest warrant said he lured women who were going through heroin withdrawal to his hotel room.

    The warrant said Trottie gave them a fix, and when they were high in his hotel room, he told them they “owed him and they were not allowed to leave until they worked off their debt.”

    “The recruitment is always finding the most vulnerable and really preying on the most vulnerable,” said Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center sex trafficking victim advocate Lawanda Ravoira.

    Investigators said Trottie advertised the women for sex on Backpage.com.

    Backpage shut down its adult services section in January, but the activity hasn’t stopped, only shifted.

    Action News Jax first showed you in March -- when a Jacksonville woman with special needs was being advertised for sex at an Argyle Forest hotel -- how sexual postings fill the massage and dating sections on Backpage.

    “We believe that Backpage needs to be brought to the front page. And they need to be held accountable for business practices that continue to put vulnerable individuals at extreme risk,” said Ravoira.

    Trottie’s warrant said the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office caught him during a sting, after investigators said he advertised a woman on Backpage for “an elite dinner date.”

    The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center has now officially launched its Open Doors outreach network. The network immediately connects human trafficking survivors statewide to the resources they need.

    If someone you know needs help, they can call the center at 904-598-0901.

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