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Memphis man accused of forcing Wisconsin girl, woman into prostitution

Kevin McKenzie, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn. –

A 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman, both from Wisconsin, told sheriff’s deputies Wednesday they had been held against their will and forced into prostitution by a Memphis man that the woman met on Facebook, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies found the girl and woman in Arlington, near Chester and U.S. 70, and were told by the 16-year-old that they had been taken there Wednesday morning to have sex for money, according to a court affidavit. She told deputies that she refused to perform for a man who gave her $100.

Deputies charged La Ron Matlock, 31, of Memphis, with the felonies of promoting prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated kidnapping and especially aggravated kidnapping. Matlock was held in Shelby County Jail on $250,000 bond.

The 19-year-old woman from Racine, Wisc., first met Matlock on Facebook and caught a bus to Memphis at the end of June, according to information released by Chip Washington, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

Matlock said he was a record producer and she intended to work for him. The woman then returned to Racine and with bus tickets purchased by Matlock, both rode back to Memphis, according to Washington.

The 16-year-old, according to an affidavit filed by deputies, said she and the woman headed to Memphis on July 15, “intending to make money off sugar daddies.”

However, when they arrived in Memphis, Matlock admitted he was a pimp, Washington reported.

The day they arrived in Memphis, they were taken to Nashville to serve as a prostitute “with old men” at an Econo Lodge, the 16-year-old told deputies. They remained in Nashville until last Saturday.

An advertisement promoting them as prostitutes was placed on the website, according to Washington.

The pair also reported that they were made to walk Memphis streets seeking money for sex.

Both victims were forced to give the money to Matlock, were beaten if they refused to work as prostitutes and were given drugs to keep them awake for days at a time, Washington reported.

The victims also weren’t allowed to leave a South Memphis house unaccompanied and were locked in when Matlock wasn’t there, according to Washington and court documents.

The 16-year-old was placed in the custody of Juvenile Court on unrelated charges against her in Wisconsin, but neither she nor the 19-year-old woman was charged in the sex trafficking investigation.

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