NORRISTOWN, Pa. – A man and a woman have been ordered to stand trial in Pennsylvania on charges that they held a woman against her will and forced her into prostitution after luring her from California to the East Coast.
Twenty-nine-year-old Kashamba John and 27-year-old Arianna Somerville, both of Decatur, Georgia, are both charged in Montgomery County with numerous counts including human trafficking, conspiracy and involuntary servitude. Another defendant is being sought.
"This is a horrendous case where a young woman was subjected to unconscionable treatment," Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement Sunday. "The victim was lured from California, held against her will and forced into prostitution The state attorney general's office said the 21-year-old victim was "lured from California, held against her will and forced into prostitution" in hotels in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Investigators said the victim was recruited from a Los Angeles nightclub to work as an escort, at which she was told she could potentially make thousands of dollars a week. But after she flew to Atlanta, authorities allege, she was forced to have sex in hotel rooms with "sometimes as many as 30 men per day." Investigators allege that John took her ID and kept all of the money and Somerville arranged the assignations.
Prosecutors allege that the woman was flown to Philadelphia in October 2016 "where she continued meeting dates for sex" at a King of Prussia motel. When John arranged for an Uber driver to take her to a Philadelphia hotel, she told the driver about her plight and the driver flagged down a state trooper, prosecutors alleged.
A message couldn't be left for John's attorney Sunday; Somerville's attorney, Lonny Fish, said his client's position was that the alleged victim's actions were voluntary and she only alleged otherwise following a financial dispute.