Updated 06/09/10 5:09 pm posted by: Markham Evans
LAUREL, Md. – Investigators say they have rescued a 12-year-old D.C. girl who had been held against her will, sexually assaulted and forced to prostitute herself. The girl, who had been reported missing May 25 in D.C., was found in a Laurel motel room on Monday, June 7, by members of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force.
She was unclothed and told police she was under orders to be ready for her captor’s return. Investigators traced the room at the Knights Inn on Route 198 to 42-year-old Derwin Samuel Smith of Glen Burnie. He was charged with human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking of a minor by force, human trafficking compensation, prostitution general, prostitution under the age of 16 and false imprisonment.
Investigators say Smith picked up the victim in an area of D.C. known for prostitution. They say she began working for Smith, who allegedly sexually assaulted her and held her against her will. The girl told investigators that Smith took her back and forth between D.C. and Atlantic City, New Jersey, where she worked for him as a prostitute.
“I don’t understand how people can treat people like that,” said Stephanie Nordberg, who works the front desk at the hotel. “It’s hard to believe those things happen these days, but they do.”
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold is praising investigators. “It’s a dastardly crime,” he said. “It’s one we cannot tolerate, when adults are trafficking in this manner. We’re glad we made the arrest.”
The girl said Smith kept all of the proceeds, and refused to let her go. Hotel guest Andrew Flood said he was disgusted by the thought of what the girl had endured. “I think that is atrocious,” Flood said. “That’s against everything adults should stand for with children and minors and people supposed to take care of the weak — not take advantage of them.”
Smith is being held on $3 million bond. The investigation is ongoing. According to court documents, Smith told the arresting officers he thought the girl was at least 22.
Anyone with further information to contribute to the case is asked to contact Detective Dan Dickey of the Special Enforcement Section at 410-222-6003.