MIAMI (CBSMiami) – City of Miami Police in conjunction with Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office arrested three people accused of forcing a 13-year-old girl to prostitute herself and dance in an exotic dance club.
According to police, Vilbert Jean,36, Marlene San Vincente, 22, and DeWayne Ward, 18 were arrested on January 6th.
The 13-year-old had runaway from her home on December 10th. Her mother located her on January 6th in the area of North Miami Avenue and NE 55 street.
Police said, while she was being held against her will, she had been forced to prostitute herself for the benefit of her alleged exploiters.
On one occasion she was forced to have sex with someone for $80.00, according to the arrest report.
“The whole thing is just horrendous. There’s just no describing honestly in words what these victims are going through,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
Between December 13 and January 4th, she was forced to dance as an exotic nude dancer at Club Madonna in Miami Beach when she refused to engage in prostitution. While dancing , police said she earned over $1,000 which she had to surrender to her alleged exploiters.
CBS4′S Gary Nelson spoke to the owner of the club, Leroy Griffith, who said he was just as surprised as anyone.
“We are trying to find out what happened. I didn’t know anything about it until Monday, I think is when they came in with a search warrant looking for paperwork and stuff. We’re working with them. We want to get to the bottom as much as you do,” said Griffith.
San Vicente allegedly supervised and tutored her on how to work the nude club scene and how to maximize her tip earnings for the benefit of her alleged exploiters.
According to police, she was forced to have sex with Ward on more than six occasions.
The three also allegedly provided her with alcohol and large amounts of marijuana while she was under their control.
While being held captive, her alleged exploiters showed her an AK47 assault rifle and a 40 caliber handgun. She was also threatened with bodily harm if she tried to escape, according to the report.
Each defendant is being charged with 1 count of human trafficking,1 count of delivering a controlled substance to a person under 18, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and lewd and lascivious conduct on a person less than 16.
“In every sense of word it really is modern day, modern day slavery is the only way to put it,” Fernandez Rundle said.
“Nightmarish” is how Dawn Thompson describes the abuse.
Thompson is the Assistant Executive Director at Kristi House, an organization dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.
She said traffickers are predators who give their victims a false sense of security to lure them in.
“They’re going to offer the girls food, a place to stay, a sympathetic ear, and that can go on for weeks,” Thompson said. “And then at some point someone’s going to say to them, now you need to make money for me.”
Thompson said the community must come together to spot and report trafficking.
She said there are many girls out there just like the 13-year-old victim.
“Really think twice before going into these strip clubs in Miami, because there’s a very good chance that you’re part of the problem with commercial sexual exploitation,” Thompson said.
If convicted, the three defendants face up to life in prison.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.