Public Safety

Iowa City man accused of human trafficking

IOWA CITY — An Iowa City man is accused of trafficking a 17-year-old girl for sex work.

According to Iowa City police criminal complaints, officers were called to the Travel Lodge, 2216 N. Dodge St., around 4 a.m. March 30 for a report of a possible human trafficking. Police said they spoke with the victim — a 17-year-old girl not identified in police reports — and 24-year-old Arrion M. West, Jr.

The victim told police she had been with West at the hotel for a couple of days and on March 30, she had tried to leave the hotel following an argument. Police said West grabbed the girl by the neck, which impaired her breathing. He also hit the girl in the face, causing a cut to her lip, scratches on her neck and redness on her cheek, police said.

The girl told police she had been planning to leave the hotel between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., but West refused to let her go.

After speaking with the victim, police learned she had met West months earlier through a social media site and West convinced her to become a prostitute. Authorities said West first arranged for the victim to do a sex act for money in Cedar Rapids in late January 2018. The victim told police she gave all of her earnings to West.

After that first sex act, the woman engaged in prostitution three to four times a day, every day, police said. West acted as her pimp the entire time, authorities said.

West has been arrested and faces charges of human trafficking, a Class B felony; pimping and pandering, Class D felonies; domestic abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor; false imprisonment, a serious misdemeanor; and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a simple misdemeanor. If convicted on all of the charges, West would face more than 38 years in prison.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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