Los Angeles police on Thursday asked for help in identifying possible additional victims of a Compton man who was convicted of forcing two 16-year-old girls to work for him as prostitutes.
Huston Hughes, 27, a self-admitted gang member, pleaded guilty to human trafficking of a minor, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Police Department.
The conviction stems from a 20-month investigation that began when one of the girls reported a sexual assault to investigators from the LAPD’s Human Trafficking Task Force and described being abused by Hughes, the release said. The investigation was closed Tuesday.
Between 2013 and 2014, Hughes “enticed and persuaded” the two minors while they were in the Los Angeles area, the statement said, adding that he took them to hotels and areas where prostitutes are known to loiter.
According to police, Hughes sexually assaulted the girls over a period of five months, after which he forced them into prostitution in Pomona and Los Angeles. He also used social media to sexually exploit the teens.
On one occasion, when “Hughes believed that the minor did not earn enough money for him as a prostitute, he physically abused her,” the LAPD said. After five months of abuse, one girl was able to escape and report the man to police.
After pleading guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court, Hughes received a 9.8-year sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, authorities said.
Anyone with information about Hughes is asked to call the LAPD’s Operations South Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force at 213-926-3963.