A Buckhead couple offered a teenager a place to stay and then allegedly turned her into a prostitute, forcing her to earn her keep.
On Wednesday Mr. Steven E. Thompson, 42, and Ms. Tierra Michelle Waters, 30, were indicted for sex trafficking of a juvenile by force, fraud or coercion and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.
“These defendants preyed on a young girl in need requiring her to have sex with men if she wanted to keep a roof over her head,” United States Attorney Mrs. Sally Quillian Yates said.
“Trafficking children is appalling and unacceptable. With the help of our partners in the community, we will press on with efforts to reach those who are being exploited, and prosecute those who choose to engage in this inhumane practice.”
The couple offered the young girl a place to stay at Thompson’s condominium in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.
But after the 17-year-old moved in, she was told that she had to earn money for rent, and that she would be required to engage in prostitution, according to court report.
“Thompson and Waters placed advertisements describing the juvenile on Backpage.com, soliciting men to have sex with the young girl either at the condominium or at a place the customer chose,”
Some advertisements falsely listed the juvenile as “Sasha,” a 19-year-old. Other advertisements showed both Ms. Waters and the juvenile, under the name “Naomi”, age 20, requesting a “donation” of $150 an hour.
“Thompson and Waters also provided marijuana to the juvenile before she had to perform commercial sex acts,”
If convicted, the couple faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each charge.
Mr. Thompson is scheduled for a bond hearing at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Ms. Waters is scheduled for arraignment at 10 a.m. on May 3.
“Forced prostitution, especially in the case of children, is a crime that leaves scars long after any physical wounds have healed,” said Mr. Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta.
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