AUSTIN (KXAN) – A man is being held in the Travis County Jail after police say he lured an 18-year-old woman online, then forced her into prostitution in Dallas and Austin.
According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told investigators she met 31-year-old Christopher Perez online last month. She said after they spent a period of time messaging, Perez told her he wanted to meet and pursue a romantic relationship. The victim said they agreed to meet, and he picked her up near her home in Houston. From there, the victim told police Perez drove her to Dallas.
The affidavit states that once in Dallas, the victim claimed she was pushed into working as a prostitute. The woman told police at first she refused and turned down some offers, but eventually engaged in prostitution for fear of Perez hurting her.
According to the affidavit, the victim told officers Perez took all of the money she earned, and she had no money or ability to leave. She also told police she learned that Perez was a member of a gang and repeatedly threatened her with violence if she didn’t cooperate.
Police say in addition to Dallas, Perez took the woman to several other cities, including Nacogdoches and Longview, before driving her to Austin on Wednesday, September 13th.
Once in Austin, the victim told investigators Perez instructed her to post an internet ad soliciting customers for sex. The victim said someone responded, and she went to that person’s home in Austin to perform sex acts two different times. Each time, she said she was paid $60, and she said she gave the money to Perez, who used it to buy gas.
On Thursday, September 14th, Austin Police say Perez and the victim got into a crash, totalling the car they were driving. Perez was transported to the hospital, while an officer gave the victim a courtesy ride. The officer was concerned for the victim’s safety and referred her to a hospital social worker and Austin Police Victim Services.
According to the affidavit, the victim was too afraid to tell anyone what had been going on and claimed she had come to Austin legally. Later, she and Perez were released from the hospital.
Police say the two went to a hotel, where the victim later called Victim Services when Perez fell asleep.
Police responded and arrested Perez for human trafficking. He’s being held in the Travis County Jail on $100,000 bond.
The victim told investigators Perez sexually assaulted her four times during the time they were together.