Text messages lead to prostitution bust

LINTHICUM, MD (CNN) - A Maryland was been charged with human trafficking when a teenager's mother alerted the police after reading text messages from her daughter.

"The 19 year-old wanted out from New Jersey, and wasn't being allowed to do so," said officer Justin Mulcahy.

That's when Janesha Harris began texting her mom.

"That's amazing that she had that kind of family support," said Joy Lepola

Court documents detail how Harris was warned by the other girls that leaving was not that  easy.

"They got involved in this, they're lured in, whether it's through money or lifestyle and there's also drugs and alcohol involved," Mulcahy said. "There comes a point where they do want out, and we have had cases in the past where they've been held against their will, as in this particular case."

Harris said 26 year-old Edward Perkins told her he operated an escort business and that she could make "mad" money. She also explained how he supplied her with alcohol and drugs.

"It appears that the adult male was using BackPage.com as a sort of a front for prostitution," Mulcahy said.

Harris told police that Perkins photographed her in erotic positions and then posted the photos on BackPage.com.

Court records indicate Perkins also listed the prices for certain services and a phone number for clients to call. Those clients would then be steered to a hotel where they would meet up with the girls.

"I can't say that every hotel property has this kind of problem, but certainly there are significant problems within many hotels where women and girls are being exploited on a regular basis, and their pimps are operating unchecked," Mulcahy said.

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