An 18-year-old man believed to be a refugee from Africa is being held without bond on a sex trafficking charge after he was arrested for allegedly bringing two 15-year-old girls from Phoenix and then prostituting them on a classified website.
FBI assistant special agent Keith Byers says authorities arrested Edema Missiadan after police in Mesa, Arizona, relayed information that a girl possibly was being forced into prostitution in the El Paso area.
An undercover investigator responding to ads offering escort service on the notorious classified website Backpage.com set up a meeting at a Super 8 Motel in El Paso Wednesday evening, and Missiadan was arrested on one count of sex trafficking of children.
The case against Missiadan involves two 15-year-old girls who were believed to have come to El Paso from Phoenix on Tuesday, said Agent Byers.
One of the alleged victims possibly was featured in at least 164 ads offering escort services outside El Paso.
Missiadan made his initial court appearance on Thursday, telling a federal judge that he did not know why he was being charged, as he committed no crime, and said he is a US citizen.
According to officials, Missiadan is a refugee from Ghana and is believed to be a citizen of the West African nation of Togo.
Court records indicate that the 18-year-old’s brother, 21-year-old Mawuli Missiadan, was arrested in June in Arizona on a slew of child prostitution and drug charges too.