A Lubbock teenager is accused of posting online advertisements and forcing an underage girl into prostitution. According to court documents, Markee Toliver, 19, is facing three felony charges of knowingly employing a child who was under the age of 18 to engage in sexual conduct, causing a person under the age of 18 to commit prostitution, and trafficking of a person who is under the age of 18 into forced labor (sexual performance of a child).
Toliver was caught through an undercover sting operation this week, conducted by the Lubbock Police Department. Investigators say they tracked him down through an online website, where they found ads offering up escort services by a woman who said she was 20 years old.
Officer called the number in the ad and made arrangements to meet the escort at the Red Roof Inn on I-27.
"Set up a time to meet, get together and once they did get together, there was an offer made of money in exchange for sex," Sgt. Jonathan Stewart with the Lubbock Police Department said.
During that encounter, officers learned the 20 year old escort was actually on 17 years old. Court documents say they also learned she was working for Toliver. Toliver was then arrested in the parking lot of the hotel.
"We do have prostitution that takes place in Lubbock and we do make arrests on it on a fairly routine basis, so it's something that is present in Lubbock," Stewart said.
Stewart says underage prostitution is nothing new to the Lubbock area and that new technology is making it easier to advertise.
"Of course, this is the internet online age, and this has become a very popular way for people who are engaged in this type of activity to advertise their services," Stewart said.
Stewart says his department takes these types of crimes very seriously.
"Of course, when we see underage victims involved in this type of thing, that does strike a nerve. I think with anybody who would see that and I think that is something we especially want to try and eradicate," Stewart said.
Toliver remains in the Lubbock County jail with a bond set at $50,000.
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