ST. GEORGE — A Las Vegas man and woman have been charged with trafficking and pimping a 16-year-old Utah girl in California.
Brandon Antwan Hunter and Danielle Beniese Bates, both 31, were arraigned Tuesday on felony counts of human trafficking, pimping and pandering of a minor over 16 by procuring. Hunter was additionally charged with unlawful sex with a minor.
Hunter is an alleged human trafficker/pimp who Bates had been working for as a prostitute and recruiting other women to prostitute for him, according to a statement issued by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in California.
In early November, Hunter and Bates met a 16-year-old girl from Utah in Las Vegas and trafficked her to Costa Mesa, California, the district attorney’s office said, but did not specify what part of Utah the girl is from, her reason for being in Las Vegas or how she met the couple.
“Between Nov. 20, 2017, and Nov. 24, 2017, Hunter is accused of having unlawful sex with the victim and pimping her by arranging for Jane Doe to meet with sex purchasers,” the district attorney said. “Hunter is accused of taking all money the victim received from commercial sex for his own benefit.”
Hunter and Bates were arrested Nov. 24 when they got into a fight with each other at a motel in Costa Mesa, California, the district attorney’s office said, adding that police were called by a patron of the motel.
As officers investigated the incident, they discovered the teenage girl in the room and identified her as a potential victim of human trafficking.
“In the pimp/prostitution subculture, pimps exploit women and/or children for financial gain often assign ranks to the women they exploit,” the district attorney’s office stated. “With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims.”
Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow, including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” assigning seats in the car based on “rank” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill, the statement said, noting:
The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical or emotional abuse.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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