Police Say Woman Escaped Pimp

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(Memphis) Police say a Memphis man kidnapped a woman and forced her into prostitution.

They say Willie Travis Griggs held a 22-year-old against her will on Whitney Ave. and forced her to work on the streets. The woman says she didn't escape until three days later.

“I am totally surprised,” said landlord Richard Riddle.

It's not every day you find out your tenant is accused of being a pimp.

“I was told he owned a tattoo parlor," Riddle said.

Riddle let us into the house where police say a woman escaped Thursday night. High heels and women's clothes remain, but tenant Griggs is now in jail.

“I am usually a pretty good judge of character,” said Riddle.

Police say a woman met Griggs Monday, spent the night with him and then he wouldn't let her leave. He was friendly at first, but then hit her and told her she couldn't leave when she tried to go.

She says he told her, "You belong to me now, you are my bottom b*&%*” and threatened to tattoo his name on her chest and neck. A police report says Griggs forcibly tattooed the woman.

She says he then made her work the street and sell herself for sex.

The woman escaped Thursday night when Griggs apparently left for the store.

“It’s not shocking. It’s sad that it continues,” said Kim Benson with a Bridge of Hope.

Benson knows about the business of prostitution.

“These people are no more than property or animals to them," Benson said.

She helps women escape from it. She's seen the latest tattoos that pimps have branded on women.

"They`ll put their animal, their logo, their name," she said.

And she knows the "pimp lingo” for a bottom girl.

“The bottom female is the one who usually has more benefits, more perks," she said.

But police say the alleged victim didn't want those perks -- she wanted out.

Police say they’re sure Griggs is a pimp because his personal cell phone is linked to “sex for sale" ads on www.backpage.com. News Channel 3 also found at least three girls listed under the same phone number.

Riddle says whatever was going on in his house, it’s officially moved out.

"It’s all going to go on the curb," he said.

Riddle has evicted Griggs and whoever else lived there.

Griggs is being held in jail on a $75,000 bond. He was charged with trafficking for commercial sex acts and aggravated kidnapping.