Richmond man charged with trafficking a minor

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A Richmond man who prosecutors call a known associate of a North Richmond gang was charged Wednesday with sex trafficking a 16-year-old girl he allegedly recruited via social media.

Mychal Duane Nelson, 34, of Richmond, was arrested on Saturday in Hayward following an investigation started by the FBI/Contra Costa County Safe Streets Task Force and the Contra Costa District Attorney Office’s Human Trafficking Unit, the DA’s Office announced today.

Prosecutors say the investigation showed Nelson used social media and other communication forms to recruit the victim to engage in prostitution. During their communication, he allegedly sent the victim sexually explicit videos and images of himself and requested her to do the same, prosecutors said.

Investigators tracked Nelson throughout the state with help from law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Vallejo and Richmond.

Nelson was ultimately charged with violations of sex trafficking a minor, pandering a minor, using a minor for sex acts, showing pornography to a minor, contact with a minor for a sex offense and pandering, with allegations of prior “three strikes” convictions, according to prosecutors.

Additionally, Nelson, who was on a state parole at the time of his arrest, is being charged in a separate case involving an apartment burglary in Hercules where losses exceeded $20,000. He has prior arrests for violent crimes, prosecutors said.

Nelson was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility.

“Social media platforms are frequently used to identify and recruit minors into the commercial sex industry,” according to the DA’s Office. “If you or someone you know are being pressured or encouraged to engage in prostitution to benefit or help support another person, help is only a phone call away.”

To speak to a confidential counselor, call Community Violence Solutions at (800) 670-7273, or visit the Contra Costa Family Justice Centers in Richmond (256 24th St.) or Concord (2151 Salvio St., Suite 201) to access a variety of services and support for individuals and families suffering from human trafficking, domestic violence and other types of interpersonal violence. No appointment is needed. For information, visit the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition’s webpage at www.contracostacoalition.org

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