HOUSTON - Three people were arrested Tuesday after they held a woman against her will and forced her into prostitution, according to police.
Kevin Winston, 25; Martina Chambers, 20; and Mikia Collins, 19, are facing charges in connection with the case.
Houston police said the 20-year-old alleged victim came to Houston on Dec. 21 to look for a job. Police said Winston befriended the woman at the southwest Houston hotel where she was staying.
“He was at the hotel by the pool area, said, 'Hey, I've got some connections. I definitely know some people who would be able to get you some work. I'll take care of the rest of your hotel room here,'” said Cmdr. J. Dale, of HPD’s Vice Division.
Three days later, police said, Winston tried forcing the woman into prostitution.
“She said that's absolutely not what I want to do. She fought back. He assaulted her, he beat her. She was terrified,” Dale said.
Houston police said the woman’s mother contacted the vice division about 3 p.m. Tuesday and said she had gotten a brief phone call from her 20-year-old daughter, who said she was being held against her will and forced into prostitution. The daughter had been missing since Dec. 27, police said.
Investigators found ads that featured the missing woman, and officers arranged a meeting with Winston at a Houston hotel. Within 45 minutes, police said, the missing woman was found.
“She immediately broke down, sobbing. She was extremely emotional and thankful the police department was there and we were able to reunite her with her mom,” Dale said.
Police arrested Winston and two of his accused recruiters, Chambers and Collins, during a traffic stop.
“The two females they said, 'Hey, we did this willingly with him,'” Dale said.
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. Houston police said another law enforcement agency -- in Texas, but outside of Houston -- missed the chance to arrest the trio during a prior traffic stop.
“To them it seemed like everything was OK. And that’s why the missing person's report was removed. We missed the ball as far as getting him arrested sooner and rescuing her, but that's why we have training,” Dale said.
Winston and Chambers are charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution, compelling prostitution and trafficking of a person.
Collins is charged with compelling prostitution and trafficking of a person.
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