Police: Man lured victims to prostitution via modeling contracts
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
Allegations surfaced Tuesday against a man accused of luring victims into sex trafficking as U.S. attorneys said Taquarius Ford pretended to offer them a modeling contract.
Some of it happened in Portland where Ford now faces federal charges.
Court documents said Ford posed as a modeling exec and flew the victims to Los Angeles where he "wine and dined" them in Hollywood.
But after all the glitz and glam, Ford allegedly told his victims that if they wanted to be models, they would first have to work for him as prostitutes.
In one case, prosecutors said Ford recruited a teen at an Idaho mall then flew her to Los Angeles where he took her to a party at the Playboy Mansion.
He's accused of forcing her to work in his escort business, and when she refused, prosecutors said Ford raped her.
He's also accused of threatening to harm her family if she didn't work for him.
Sometime between September 2011 and June 2012, prosecutors said he took the victim to Portland for prostitution, but thanks to a vigilant hotel clerk and a Port of Portland police officer, that young woman was rescued.
Ford was arrested but not federally indicted at the time.
Prosecutors said further investigation revealed Ford has had other young women victims, including a second rape victim.
It wasn't until January that a federal grand jury in Portland indicted him.
One month later, Ford arrived in Florida on a flight from Sweden and was then arrested by the FBI.
Ford has pleaded not guilty. He will appear again in federal court in Portland on Wednesday on charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
He has tried to get out on bail, but prosecutors argue he should be detained until trial.
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