An Indianapolis mother is breathing a sigh of relief after she helped police save her teenage daughter from prostitution and bust the suspected pimp for human trafficking.
Arron Kimbrell said her 14-year-old daughter ran away from home about a month ago. Kimbrell kept in contact with the teen via text messages and quickly found out the girl was dating 29-year-old James Martin and had started prostituting.
She decided to take matters into her own hands and put together a plan to get her daughter back.
"I had another cell phone and she didn't know the number. So I text her and said... 'Hey sexy, one of my guy friends gave me your phone number. So what's up?' And she text me back and she said 'Oh okay.' She said 'Pay for play.' And I said 'Okay you got a spot? And how much?' And she texts back and says '$200 for everything.'"
Kimbrell contacted local detectives who told her to schedule a meeting. Undercover officers met the teen at the Motel 6 off Shadeland Avenue and busted her.
According to court documents, the teen asked the undercover officer to touch her left breast over her clothing in order to find out if he was a cop. She told police, her boyfriend, Martin, taught her how to sniff out an undercover officer. She also told police Martin drove her to her appointments and she gave the money she earned from prostitution to him. She also said they had sexual intercourse several times, even after she told him multiple times that she was only 14.
"I know that she cried when she was told that I'm the one that did it," said Kimbrell, adding how relieved she was that her daughter was now safe. "God is good. I mean it's just overwhelming. It was the best feeling."
Martin was arrested and charged with promotion of human trafficking, sexual misconduct with a minor and two counts of promoting prostitution.
He is the first person to be charged with the newly amended human trafficking statute, which makes it easier to prosecute criminals. Before January, prosecutors needed to prove the suspect had forced the victim into prostitution. Now, they don't.
"Even if she comes forward and says 'I want to do this, he just drove me, and he just helped me do this,' it's not a defense to this crime," explained Mary Hutchison, the Marion County Deputy Prosecutor on the case. "That's why it's so important when they are at that age and they're so young and so vulnerable that we don't have to prove these elements of force, because they're so easily manipulated into believing that the perpetrator does in fact love them and will take care of them and that he's prostituting them for love."
Martin faces up to 20 years in prison because of the upgraded statute. Something that's very much appreciated by Kimbrell.
"This law is fabulous," she said. "I hope they catch a whole bunch more."