RIVERSIDE – An 18-year-old Moreno Valley woman accused of pimping out a 14-year-old runaway girl for sexual services pleaded not guilty today to human trafficking and other charges.
Kayla Corithian Jackson was arrested Thursday at a Moreno Valley motel where she was allegedly keeping the victim, whose name has not been released.
Along with the trafficking count, Jackson was charged with felony pimping, pandering and compelling a child to perform lewd acts. She faces more than a dozen years behind bars if convicted.
Jackson appeared today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez, who appointed her a public defender, took her plea and set a felony settlement conference in the case for March 21.
Hernandez set bail for Jackson at $85,000. She is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.
District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said the case is illustrative of a growing trend countywide.
”Riverside County is unfortunately seeing more and more instances of human trafficking, causing us great concern,” Zellerbach said. ”This office will be taking a proactive approach in the prosecution of human trafficking cases.”
In November, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 35, which mandates tougher penalties for convicted traffickers. If a case involves the enslavement of a minor for the purpose of sex trafficking, a defendant could face a life prison term.
According to sheriff’s officials, the Jackson case was uncovered after investigators came across an online ad posted on a popular social networking site. The victim’s picture was included in the ad, authorities said.
”These postings offered sexual services in exchange for money,” Sgt. John Sawyer said.
Acting undercover, members of the county Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force contacted the girl and arranged for an in-call encounter. They found her at a motel in the 23500 block of Alessandro Boulevard and took her into protective custody, Sawyer said.
”Further investigation revealed the 14-year-old victim was conducting prostitution under Jackson’s direction and guidance,” Sawyer alleged.