A man accused of beating a prostitute who wanted out of the business has been indicted by a grand jury.
Demarion Keyes was indicted Thursday on charges of kidnapping, first-degree assault, and promoting prostitution.
According to court documents, less than a week ago Demarion Keyes,pulled up to the corner of Kalakaua and Seaside Avenue in a cab and forced a woman, who later said she was a prostitute working for Keyes, into the car.
Police say a short time later the two were in Keyes home on Lewers street. Court documents explain how Keyes told the victim if she left he’d beat her.
According to the victim she said she was done working for Keyes. She says he then repeatedly punched, slapped, choked, and struck her with a belt to the point where she says she lost consciousness.
She told police she finally escaped when Keyes went to the bathroom, but not after suffering what doctors called several fractures and internal bleeding, causing what they called a substantial risk of death.
Her mother later told police that Keyes was trying to leave the state.
State sheriffs ultimately arrested him at Honolulu International Airport before he could board his flight.
Thanks to a new law passed this July, Keyes will face not only counts of kidnapping, first degree assault, and promoting prostitution, he’ll also be facing a charge of sex trafficking, a class A felony.
Human rights advocate Kathryn Xian says this is an important step in prosecuting human trafficking, “It’s a shift systemic shift and approaching the crime of human trafficking by putting survivors at the center and not criminalizing them anyway and also raising the penalties for sex traffickers and pimps.”
The sex trafficking law was the product of a working group led by State Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland and State Rep. Karl Rhoads, including prosecutors, the Attorney General’s office, the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Dept. of Health.
Co-author of the bill Representative Lauren Matsumoto said in part tonight, “The new law is monumental and will play an important role in cases like these.”
Xian says this new law will help many more human trafficking cases come to light, “This means that they won’t have to fight to be heard, also on top of fighting for justice they won’t have to fight against community and a blame the victim type of climate.”
A sex trafficking conviction carries a prison term of up to 20 years, and a fine of up to $50,000.
Keyes court date has yet to be set.