A couple’s “abusive cruelty” against a disabled woman ends in human trafficking charges

Macomb County Sheriff's Office

A Michigan couple is facing human trafficking and prostitution charges after they allegedly kept a disabled woman in their shed and sold her for sex.

Misty George, 30, and Michael Welch, 38, are accused of keeping a 29-year-old woman, who is both mentally and physically disabled, locked inside of a small shed close to their Macomb Township house and using her as a sex slave. The woman, who lived inside of the couple’s home, was forced to reside in the shed when she could no longer pay rent. The couple then took her support money and used online dating ads to solicit funds from men in exchange for sex with their victim. The victim was eventually able to get away from the couple in unspecified circumstances.

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“Instead of helping this profoundly special-needs person, (they) took her support money, forced her to live rough in an outside shed, and sold her as a prostitute. As your heart breaks for this vulnerable woman, your conscience is shocked by the abusive cruelty one human being is capable of showing to another,” criticized Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

Welch will face additional charges after he managed to briefly escape custody while entering a sheriff transport vehicle. He was apprehended after a brief police chase on foot.

“It is sad, it is disturbing,” said long-time neighbor Tracy Byers, who says she never noticed the woman. “I mean even if you are down and out, there is ways to figure it out, not doing that to another human being.”

Neighbors say that they believed George to also have special needs and encouraged her to get away from Welch, whose poor employment history caused them to believe he was living off of George. The couple shares a young daughter.

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