‘Courageous’ teen helps break up San Jose human trafficking ring
SAN JOSE — Authorities are crediting a 14-year-old girl with helping break up a human trafficking operation in San Jose earlier this week.
On Sunday, the teen contacted the Crisis Text Line to report that she was being held against her will and forced to engage in prostitution, according to Sgt. Enrique Garcia.
Garcia said officers rushed to the 14-year-old’s location, a Motel 6 at 2560 Fontaine Road, and arrested three suspects: Christopher Lyon Johnson, 39, of Sacramento; Antoine Williams, 43, of Merrillville, Ind.; and Curtis Lee Russell, 59, of Natomas.
In addition to the teen, officers rescued a pair of women from California, ages 20 and 23, according to Garcia.
“It was courageous for the 14-year-old to do what she did,” he said.
Launched in the United States in 2013, the Crisis Text Line — 741741 — connects people in crisis with counselors whose ultimate goal is to help the texter come up with a plan to stay safe. The 24/7 service is now available in other countries including Canada and South Africa.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the teen was reported as a missing runaway from Flint, Michigan, on Sept. 1, 2018. She went to Chicago, where she was kidnapped a few days later and taken to Gary, Indiana. Eventually, she was taken to various cities throughout California where she was forced to work as a prostitute, according to Garcia.
Johnson and Williams were booked into Santa Clara County jail on felony charges of human trafficking, pimping and pandering, and kidnapping. Russell was booked on felony charges of human trafficking and pimping. All three are being held without bail.
Garcia said detectives believe the suspects might have forced other women to engage in prostitution.
“We take these cases extremely seriously and we’re going to allocate the resources necessary to solve them,” he said.