BY LUKE TABET
A St. Albans couple accused of imprisoning two young women and forcing them to work as prostitutes has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking.
“These guilty pleas ensure a conviction and enable the troubled young victims in the case to move on with their lives,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.
According to the investigation, said Brown, after posing as a customer, defendant Hikeem L. Green, 39, solicited services from the victims before taking custody of them and bringing them back to where he lived with girlfriend, co-defendant Darcell Marshall, 22. The two women, ages 19 and 20, were imprisoned in the couple’s Springfield Boulevard home from October until December of 2012. Green told them he was a pimp and must now work for him as prostitutes.
Green took photos of them victims and posted them on backpage.com, an adult website directory, and advertised them as prostitutes whose services were for hire. Several men responded to the ads and the victims were forced to meet with the men and engage in sexual acts for money which was then turned over to Green and Marshall.
According to the district attorney, a state legislation that took effect on November 1, 2007 created the sex trafficking charge, a class B felony. The legislation requires those convicted of sex trafficking to register with the state. It also provides assistance to victims such as temporary housing, health services and drug addiction treatment.
Brown also said that since the statute was enacted, eleven defendants have been convicted of sex trafficking charges.