HOUSTON - Three people arrested Tuesday after police said they held a woman against her will and forced her into prostitution appeared in court Thursday.
Kevin Winston, 25, and Martina Chambers, 20, were charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution and trafficking of a person, and Mikia Collins, 19, was charged with compelling prostitution and trafficking of a person.
The Houston Police Department said the 20-year-old woman had come to Houston in late December to find a job and was held against her will and forced into prostitution by the trio.
The woman managed to call her mother and beg for help, telling her she was being held and trafficked before the call was cut short.
Officers said the mother contacted them and they were able to find an ad for the victim online and set up an undercover sting, during which they were able to rescue the woman and apprehend Winston, Chambers and Collins.
“The complainant described in detail the ways in which she was held against her will by this defendant (Winston) and the other two co-defendants,” said a prosecutor in court Thursday. “The complainant told us she was deprived of her state-issued identification card by the defendants and of her personal cellphone.”
The woman also told police she was physically abused and that the trio would take the profits made from prostitution.
Police said the trio rented a vehicle and were planning to take the victim to New York on Wednesday, possibly to sell her to another trafficker.
According to the state, Winston said he was originally from New York and went by the nickname “New York.”
The state had originally asked for bond to be set at $150,000 for each charge because he admitted to wanting to go to New York and was, therefore, a flight risk.
However, the public defender argued that Winston will not leave because he has lived in Houston since 2005, has no prior violence convictions, and has two children ages 2 and 5 months who are also in the area.
His bond was set at $50,000 on trafficking charges and $25,000 each for the compelling prostitution and aggravated promotion of prostitution charges, totaling $100,000.
Chambers and Collins both appeared in court later Thursday morning. Prosecutors said the women both admitted they took part in prostitution along with Winston and that they took photographs of the victim for prostitution ads.
Collins’ bond was set at $20,000 for each of her charges, and Chambers’ was set at $70,000 total for all three of her charges.
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