Austin police arrested three suspects for human trafficking Thursday. The two men and one woman would force victims into prostitution by threatening, injuring and making them do drugs and drink alcohol.
Lt. Jerry Gonzalez with APD said during a press conference Friday the arrests of Solomon Pate, Rebecca Chap and Demetrick Cook, all age 26, came about when a Round Rock Police officer noticed two distraught and injured young women walking down the street.
The girls had escaped from one of their “johns,” and told the Round Rock officer they were taken from the Houston area and driven to Austin by the suspects to be prostitutes and steal from their clients.
Victim number one is 18 years old, and was lured in a Houston gentleman’s club by Pate. The victim had two children and was told that if she didn’t do what the suspects told her to, she and her children would be killed.
The second victim was 19-years-old and was abducted and forced into a car while waiting for her sister in the Houston area.
When the two victims were spotted by the Round Rock patrol officer, they were taken to a nearby hospital for their obvious injuries. It was there the victims gave detailed information about the suspects to police.
All three suspects, and their vehicles, were located at the La Quinta Inn on East 11th Street. At the motel, detectives also located two additional victims from the Florida area. Those victims told authorities they had been driven to various states, including Louisiana and New York, in Chap’s vehicle.
Lt. Gonzalez said human trafficking cases like this one aren’t new to Austin, but are “very well hidden.”
He says just because a woman is a prostitute it, doesn’t mean she’s there on her own will. There are many pimps who take control of women for money.
“They have very little respect for human life,” Gonzalez said.
Pate, Cook and Chap have all been charged with human trafficking. They are currently in custody on a $500,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing and federal charges could come later.
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