Vilbert Jean, 36, Marlene San Vincente, 22, and DeWayne Ward, 18, were arrested on human-trafficking charges Monday after they allegedly forced a 13-year-old girl into prostitution and stripping at South Beach's only fully nude strip joint, Club Madonna.
The State Attorney's Office says the girl, identified only as D.J., ran away from home December 10 and was found by her mother January 6 along North Miami Avenue near NE 55th Street. During the interim period, the girl was allegedly forced into sex work.
The trafficking began just three days after the girl ran away from home. She had sex with men for $80 at 335 NE 55th Terrace. D.J. was supplied alcohol and marijuana by the trio, who also showed her their array of guns. The pimps threatened her if she tried to escape.
The girl, however, refused to continue having sex for money, so the trio soon forced her into working at Club Madonna between December 13 and January 4. San Vincente showed the girl the ropes of the strip club and taught her how to maximize her earnings, which were then given to the trio. They received about $1,000 from her work at the club.
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A lawyer for Club Madonna told the Miami Herald that the club was unaware of the situation and had no further comment.
"This sad case shows how quickly human traffickers locate their young prey and turn them from children into cash-producing machines," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "Sadly, to human traffickers, destroying a helpless child's life is unimportant when compared to the consistent flow of cash into their pockets. The people of this community will not tolerate this. With the help of my Human Trafficking Task Force and my specialized Human Trafficking prosecutors, we will end this hideous practice."
The three were charged with counts of human trafficking, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, lewd and lascivious conduct on a person less than 16, and delivering a controlled substance to a person under 18.