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Teen Says She was Held Against Her Will, Trafficked in Bakersfield Motel



Photo of a sad young woman sitting in a room on the floor
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A teen girl in an alleged human trafficking case said she was held against her will at a Bakersfield motel for four days while forced to engage in sex acts with multiple men.

The 17-year-old identified Melton Smith, 32, of Bakersfield, and Aleaha Wheeler, 22, of Lompoc, as the two who kept her confined to the motel room, saying Smith assaulted her and threatened to kill her when she tried to leave, according to police reports filed in the case.

The teen told police, Smith forced her to smoke a “blunt” and put on lingerie. Smith photographed her and Wheeler, who was also in lingerie, in sexual poses then posted the photos to a website, the documents said. The site included pictures of them and other girls with prices indicated their availability for sex, the 17-year-old told police.

Eight or nine men showed up for “dates” during the next few days, the teen said, and she had sex with about half of them. She repeatedly asked to go home but Smith threatened her, the teen told police.

Smith and Wheeler have pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping and human trafficking.

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