A Jonesboro woman is being held in the Clayton County jail without bond for prostituting 2 teenage girls, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Police say the Jessica M. Washington, 27, gave two teenage runaways free room and board in her apartment on Upper Riverdale Road, in exchange for letting her pimp them out on Craigslist.com.
Washington is being charged with "prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, trafficking persons for labor or servitude, pandering and enticing minors for indecent purposes, according to Clayton County court records," obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Washington came to the attention of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes unit after one of the teens was picked up as a runaway.
“She actually just ran away and was picked by Clayton County (police) for being a runaway,” unit leader Special Agent Sandra Putnam told Channel 2 Action News. “Once she was placed in a secure facility and was interviewed by her caseworker … the caseworker learned she was a potential victim of this type of crime and notified the GBI.”
Putmnam said the girls were not being held against their will by Washington in her apartment. They were free to come and go as they pleased, but the teens were expected to turn tricks in exchange for food and a safe roof over their heads.
“A lot of these victims don’t feel like they have any other avenue to go in these types of situations,” Putnam said. “We have reason to believe there are other (victims)."
GBI spokesman John Bankhead told Channel 2 Action News a SWAT team breached the apartment door and entered the residence first because they believed Washington was armed and dangerous. But Washington was not at home at the time.
The GBI later took Washington into custody without incident when she returned home.