Howard County Police arrested a 28-year-old man Friday in connection with human trafficking and prostitution of an underage girl in Howard County.
Nathaniel Lee Thompson of Delaware was charged with four counts of human trafficking and two counts of prostitution, police say. Thompson fled from police more than three weeks ago during a prostitution sting operation.
Howard County detectives said they monitored the website Backpage, a site known to be used for prostitution, often of young girls who are victims of trafficking. Investigators called to inquire about one of the online ads, and an undercover detective agreed to meet with the girl from the ad at a local hotel.
Thompson and his accomplice, Janice Figueroa, drove the girl to the hotel in a Cadillac, dropped her off and then parked at a nearby restaurant, according to police. The girl, later determined to be 17 years old, agreed to exchange sex for money with the undercover detective. The officer then identified himself as law enforcement.
When officers approached the suspects’ parked Cadillac, they found Figueroa lying on the back seat. Thompson had entered the restaurant and escaped through a back door, according to employees.
Detectives discovered that the 17-year-old girl had been brought from Delaware to Maryland and Virginia by Thompson and Figueroa. Police say the suspects were “taking a significant portion of any money the girl earned.”
She was placed with Child Protective Services to be reunited with her family, according to police.
Janice Figueroa, 19, was charged with multiple counts of human trafficking and prostitution.