UPDATE: The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office said Breanna Chanthanam, not Benjamin Sapp, had an outstanding warrant for prostitution.
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — An 18-year-old woman who authorities believe was pressed into work as a prostitute by a man and woman from California was found during a traffic stop conducted by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit near the Florida state line on Wednesday, Jan. 25. BCSO said the victim had a broken collar bone and bruises and lacerations on her face.
“After talking with juvenile and the other two parties it became very evident to our deputies that they were exploiting this young lady and they were profiting from it,” said Capt. Andre Reid with BCSO.
Benjamin Sapp, 20, and Breanna Chanthanam, 22, both of Sacramento, Calif., face human trafficking and marijuana possession charges.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office in a news release said Special Operations Unit deputies stopped a vehicle Sapp was driving for a lane violation. BCSO said Chanthanam had an active warrant for prostitution charges out of Harris County, Texas. She was arrested on that warrant.
Deputies said they smelled marijuana while making the arrest. BCSO said they found marijuana and about $15,000 in cash.
With Sapp were Chanthanam and an 18-year-old female passenger, according to BCSO. BCSO said the 18-year-old “had visible bruising and lacerations on her face as well as a broken collar bone.”
Deputies said, based on “interviews and other evidence,” both women were working as prostitutes. Deputies also said that Sapp and Chanthanam “had recruited, were
transporting, and profiting from the juvenile’s servitude and she was a victim of human
trafficking,” according to the release.
“Any time you have an individual that profits from the sexual exploits of another person that’s when that charge comes in,” says Reid.
“Human trafficking is a national and international issue,” reads the news release, “and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office is committed to doing our part to end this horrible crime.”
BCSO said they are working with the Homeland Security Investigations and other federal partners. BCSO said the 18-year-old has been provided counseling, is being treated for health issues, and has been relocated.