Woman tells police she was held hostage in motel, forced into sex trafficking

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman is recovering mentally and physically after being kidnapped and forced into sex trafficking.

Friday, police say a 19-old woman, sitting in the hospital covered in bruises, said she had been held hostage in an Elvis Presley Boulevard motel for days by a man.

Brian Curtis, 31, is charged with assault, kidnapping and trafficking for commercial sex.

Court documents show the victim met up with Curtis and another woman at the motel, where she stayed several days. It wasn’t until the fifth day when he started to make demands.

The victim told police that Curtis told her she would be having sex for money. The victim refused, but Curtis threatened her, destroyed her phone and kept her from leaving.

The affidavit goes on to say that he took photos of the young woman, posting them online advertising sexual services for money.

Rachel Haaga, executive director of Restore Corps, said sex trafficking in the Mid-South is common.

“It’s out there it’s happening every day. It’s definitely one of the most prolific crimes happening in our community that people just don’t know about,” Haaga said. “Victims are exploited for the demands of the trafficker but the demand is what drives it all.”

WREG did some digging and found this isn’t Curtis's first run-in with the law. Back in 2014, he was charged with harassment, aggravated assault, and aggravated stalking.

Court documents show he sent threatening text messages to his ex-girlfriend. One message reads “On your break or going home I’ll be waiting. I should’ve blown your head off like I should’ve did a few days ago.”

A month later, Curtis was arrested again for hitting the woman in the face.

"Traffickers are really good at what they do,” Haaga said. "They see the vulnerabilities in people and they know how to pull on the correct vulnerabilities for that exploitation.”

Haaga says if you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation you can contact the restore corps local hotline 901-410-3590 for help.

 

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