CRIME
06/05/2014 01:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Texas Stripper Kidnapped, Beaten And Forced Into Prostitution: Police

A Texas woman who worked as a stripper says a trio of crooks including other women held her against her will and forced her to work as a prostitute for weeks.

Three suspects -- Jonathan Williams, 42; Neela Arjoonsingh, 27; and Melissa Barnes, 20 -- were arrested on human trafficking charges late last month, ending an ordeal that spanned six states and several months, according to KSAT.

MySanAntonio.com reports that the FBI and local authorities in San Antonio and North Carolina cooperated on the case, which culminated in the woman's rescue at a Charlotte motel.

Police say the suspects forced the victim, who is in her 20s, to travel around the country with them, and used her as a prostitute in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, according to WCNC.

The woman, who is not named, worked at a San Antonio strip club before she was enticed to leave town on the promise of making more money by stripping at other clubs. But once they hit the road, she said the suspects beat her and intimidated her.

The victim said Barnes and Arjoonsingh prostituted her several times through Backpage.com, an online classified ad site, according to the San Antonio Express-News. She also told investigators that Williams took her birth certificate and threatened to harm her family if she didn't do as they said.

Authorities got involved April 11, after the victim's mother said she hadn't heard from her daughter in several weeks.

On May 23, the victim placed a call from a Tampa, Florida motel to her former place of employment, a strip club in San Antonio. The club called her mom, who contacted police again.

A few days later, on May 27, the victim called her mother from a North Carolina motel. The receptionist made note of the number and passed it along to police. The mother also called police.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police found Arjoonsingh with the suspect at a Charlotte motel, and waited for the other two suspects to return before arresting all three.

The suspects were initially held in Mecklenburg County Jail on $250,000 bond apiece, but have since been extradited to Texas. They are scheduled to appear in federal court in San Antonio on June 18.

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