REDDING (CBS13) — A 16-year-old Sacramento girl forced into prostitution managed to escape her captor, who is now behind bars.
The teen was kidnapped from Sacramento and taken to Redding, where she was eventually found on Hartnell Avenue.
She spent weeks locked in a room, taken from the city ranked by the FBI as the second-worst city for sex trafficking, and shuttled between two Redding apartments.
Investigators say Melvin Baldwin-Green, Jr, promised to buy his captive a bus ticket back to Sacramento if she made enough money. He threatned the teen: Don’t try to escape.
A serious trafficker doesn’t allow a lot of freedom,” said My Sister’s House executive director Nilda Valmores. “He has already threatened her every day, every hour about what was going to happen if she did escape.”
The head of the Sacramento nonprofit for domestic abuse and sex abuse victims say it speaks to the courage of the teen that she escaped as quickly as she did.
Police say the teen flagged down neighbors on a Redding street, telling them she’d been held against her will and she managed to break free and needed help.
“It takes neighbors, it takes individuals to be brave enough to believe somebody’s weird story out there that they may be a victim,” Valmores said.
Baldwin-Green was arrested in a police sting on Wednesday. Police call him a pimp, actively involved in prostituting women.
The 16-year-old is back home, safe with her Sacramento family. With enough support, Valmores says she’ll move on.
“They are marked with courage and grace and they’re able to heal,” she said.
Police say the suspect also molested his victim multiple times. He’s behind bars at the Shasta County Jail on $1 million bail.