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Man accused of working as pimp for missing Houston teen in Las Vegas

Updated March 3, 2021 - 10:27 pm

A missing 16-year-old from Houston was found working as a prostitute in Las Vegas last month, according to an arrest report for the man accused of working as her pimp.

Metropolitan Police Department officers on Feb. 19 detained the girl and two women, all of whom were suspected of soliciting prostitution at Caesars Palace, the report says. The girl told police that she had met “Santana,” later identified as 24-year-old Khalifah Joseph, on Instagram a few months back and began working as a prostitute for him in Texas after she lied about her age.

When a brutal winter storm hit Texas in February, the girl said she and Joseph joined some friends and drove to Las Vegas. On the first night she earned $100, and on the second she was detained by police, according to the report.

The girl told police that she gave Joseph the money she earned in exchange for food and a hotel room, according to the report, and that Joseph would stay in the area where she worked for protection.

She told police Joseph “never forced her to do anything that she did not want to do,” the report states.

Police searched the girl’s phone when she was detained and found a photo of Joseph, which they used to find and arrest him on the Caesars Palace casino floor, the report says.

Joseph initially denied coming to Las Vegas with the girl, but ultimately confessed to having her work as a prostitute for him, though he said he did not know she was 16 and said he used the money she earned to provide for her.

He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on charges of sex trafficking a child, child abuse and living off the earnings of a prostitute, jail records show. A court hearing in the case is scheduled for March 9.

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0338. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter.

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