A Sacramento couple arrested last month on suspicion of pimping underage girls at a South San Francisco hotel pleaded not guilty to human trafficking and other charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday. Mahender “Mike” Singh, 40, and his wife Helen, 22, were taken into custody on Aug. 20 at a Travelodge Hotel at 326 S. Airport Blvd. after police received a tip that a runaway girl was staying at the hotel, according to South San Francisco police.
Officers went to the hotel and found a 19-year-old woman and two 16-year-old girls in a room that was registered to Singh, who was staying in another room, police said. Singh told police that the girls were his stepdaughters, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. During questioning, all three girls said they had been forced into prostitution by Singh and his wife, according to police. Investigators searched the rooms registered to Singh and found condoms, lingerie, and counterfeit bills, police said. Ads featuring the three girls were uncovered on myredbook.com, an adult website used to advertise escort services and massage parlors, according to the district attorney’s office.
A cellphone connected to the online ads was found in Helen Singh’s car, police said. The couple was arrested and booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of human trafficking of persons under the age of 18, pimping, pandering and conspiracy. The two posted bail and were released, but police arrested them again when the district attorney’s office added charges of kidnapping with intent to sexually assault. Mahender and Helen Singh remain in custody without bail. They are scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 5. The three girls were released to their parents, police said.
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