Three arrested in Houston after sex-trafficking victim grabs john's cellphone to frantically call for help

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A sex-trafficking victim being held against her will in Houston was able to grab a john's cellphone and frantically call her mother in Fort Worth, Texas, to make a desperate plea for help.

What happened?

The mother contacted police after she received the call from her daughter, who said traffickers were forcing her into prostitution and using violence and intimidation to hold her against her will, KHOU-TV reported.
Three suspects were arrested Tuesday after police found prostitution ads with photos of the victim and conducted a sting operation.
Martina Chambers, 20, Kevin Winston, 25, and Mikia Collins, 19, are facing felony charges of compelling prostitution and trafficking of a person. Winston and Chambers were also charged with aggravated promotion of prostitution, according to reports.
A judge set bond Thursday, ranging from $40,000 to $100,000, for the three suspects, according to the TV station.
The victim's mother is credited with saving her daughter's life. Traffickers were reportedly planning to take her to New York City to be prostituted.

How did she wind up in Houston?

The 20-year-old victim, who is from Fort Worth, moved to Houston with a friend on Dec. 21 to look for a job.
Houston Police Department Vice Division Commander James Dale toldthe Houston Chronicle that the victim's friend gave up on looking for work after a week and left her alone in Houston.
While staying in a hotel on the city's west side, the victim met Winston near the pool and told him she was looking for a job. Winston told her he knew someone who was hiring and proceeded to buy the victim new clothes and other items. He also offered to pay her hotel bill in full, Dale told the newspaper.
"He told her all the things she wanted to hear," Dale said, noting that is how he began "grooming" her and gaining her trust.
After three days, Winston allegedly suggested that she become a prostitute. When she refused, he allegedly "beat her into submission," Dale said. The suspects also allegedly withheld the victim's identification card and cellphone.
On Dec. 27, the victim was able to get a john's cellphone and call her mom. She could not give an exact location, but the mother filed a missing person report with Fort Worth Police.
Following the sting operation in Houston, police were able to rescue the woman and arrest the suspects. They were taken into custody shortly after they drove away from the hotel as the undercover officer showed up.
When police barged into the hotel room, the victim "immediately broke down sobbing," Dale told the newspaper. "She was extremely emotional and thankful that police officers were there. We were able to reunite her with her mom."
The victim told police she believes there could have been at least one additional pimp who trafficked her and there were more victims "just like her," inside the trafficking ring, according to reports.

How can people help?

The Vice Division's Human Trafficking Unit in Houston is asking anyone with tips to call 713-308-8600.

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