Female pimp sentenced to 50 years for trafficking 16-year-old, forcing her into prostitution in Houston area

Marilyn Joy Wilkes, 27, pleaded guilty to three charges (Harris County District Attorney's Office)

HOUSTON – A woman, labeled as a pimp, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after forcing a 16-year-old girl into sex work for a month in the Houston area, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday.

Marilyn Joy Wilkes, 27, pleaded guilty to human trafficking, sexual assault of a child under the age of 17 and compelling prostitution for a month over the 2018 Christmas holiday.

“Only a true predator would force a minor to become a streetwalker,” Ogg said. “Someone who steals a child’s youth by brutally coercing them to have sex with strangers for their own profit, like in this case, deserves to spend time in prison.”

Prosecutors said Wilkes had a sexual relationship with the teen and forced her into prostitution. If the teen refused to work, prosecutors say Wilkes assaulted her. If the teen did not make her $600 daily quota, the assault would result in her ribs or fingers being broke, officials said.

Wilkes used the money to pay for hotels, drugs, alcohol and food, officials wrote in a press release.

In January 2019, the teen escaped while on a “date” with a stranger, officials said. The teen fled in a vehicle with her mother and officials say Wilkes followed them in a high-speed chase. The teen’s mother called 911 and met an officer in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, officials said. Wilkes was arrested weeks after the incident.

Prosecutors convinced the judge to give Wilkes two 25-year prison sentences for compelling prostitution and human trafficking, officials said. Wilkes was also sentenced to the maximum of 20 years for the sexual assault of a child, which will run concurrently, prosecutors said.

“This was an example of the typical grooming that pimps use to victimize women,” Prosecutor Micala Clark said. “This young woman suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and nightmares at the hands of this predator.”

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