Southeastern PA

21-year-old lured from California, forced into prostitution in Montgomery County

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. - Two people will stand trial in Montgomery County in a horrific case of human sex trafficking.

Kashamba John, 29, and Arianna Somerville, 27, both of Georgia, are accused of luring a 21-year-old woman from California, holding her against her will, and forcing her into prostitution in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office.

A third defendant in the case, Tyler Bachtel, is still on the run.

Investigators said the woman met Bachtel in a Los Angeles nightclub, and was recruited by him to fly to the East Coast to work as an escort. He told her she could potentially make thousands of dollars a week.

The victim flew to Atlanta where she met John, officials said.

John immediately took the woman's belongings and forced her to have sex with men in hotel rooms, sometimes up to 30 men per day, working from 8 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., investigators said.

Officials said Somerville set up many of the meetings.

In October 2016, John and the victim flew to Philadelphia. John continued forcing the woman to meet men for sex at a motel in King of Prussia.

Officials said the woman was rescued after she told an Uber driver she was being held against her will and wanted to go to police. John had ordered her the Uber car to meet a date at a hotel in Philadelphia.

The Uber driver flagged down a state police trooper who took the woman to a nearby police barracks.

A statewide grand jury investigation recommended trafficking charges against John in July. The ongoing investigation led to additional charges filed in September against John, as well as charges against Somerville and Bachtel.

All three are charged with trafficking in individuals, involuntary servitude, prostitution, conspiracy and related charges.

John and Somerville were in court Friday for a preliminary hearing. All charges were held for trial.

John is being held on $1 million bail and Somerville is being held on $50,000 bail.

Authorities are still searching for Bachtel.


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