A media spokesperson at the South San Francisco Police Department has confirmed that officers have arrested and detained a couple who is alleged to have forced a teenager and three adult women into selling their bodies for sex.
Defendants Maria Jiminez and Sate Jones are being charged with pimping, pandering and human trafficking. Their victims include two 18 year-olds, one 17 year-old and a 20 year-old. Authorities say the defendants recruited the victims by way of a normal “want-ad” for a job. A spokesperson for the department said the women were instead taken against their will and transported to a local motel to be detained. They were denied food, force-fed drugs and forces into prostitution.
South San Francisco Police Department officers say human trafficking is a growing problem within the area. Outreach programs to local hotel owners and managers has been ongoing. Had it not been for the tip from a front desk clerk at the motel where the women were being held, it could have been weeks if not months before they were found.
Officers reportedly arrived to the hotel and were pointed to the room where the illegal activity was believed to be taken place. The victims were found to be high on drugs that had been forced on them by their kidnappers. Police waited several hours for the assailants to return. They were arrested on the spot. If convicted they face between 25 years to life in state prison. It is believed the District Attorney will pursue the maximum sentence due to a minor being involved.
Jiminez and Jones are both being held at the San Mateo County Jail in lieu of $350,000 bail. The investigation is ongoing and it is believed a third suspect could be arrested for their part in the crime. It is unclear how the defendants will plead during their arraignments.