HONOLULU (AP) — A couple trafficked a 15-year-old girl and her mother from Guam to Hawaii, where they took away their passports, forced them to work and beat them, police alleged in court documents.
Kevin and Pomerrine Robert are charged with felony labor trafficking. The state public defender’s office represented them during a court appearance Monday.
Pomerrine Robert took the passports away when the girl and her mother arrived in Honolulu from Guam in August and told them she would return the passports if they paid her money, according to probable cause documents filed in court. The documents didn’t specify the country of the passports.
They lived in the couple’s apartment, while the girl enrolled at a high school and the mother got a job at a deli where Robert also worked, the documents said.
The documents said Robert took away the mother’s pay and spent the money on things such as rent, cigarettes and crystal methamphetamine.
The girl “was expected to regularly clean the entire apartment, including sweeping, mopping and laundry,” the documents said.
The documents described beatings, including one on Feb. 22 when the girl left to visit a friend. Robert found her, grabbed her by the hair, dragged her through the housing complex and told her to smoke crystal meth. When she refused, Kevin Robert allegedly held her down while Pomerrine Robert punched her in the face.
After another beating with a metal curtain rod a few days later, the girl was locked in a bedroom and not allowed to go to school, the documents said. The couple gave her bottled water, chips and a bucket to use as a toilet, the documents said.
She was kept there until March 4 and then went to school and reported it to a counselor, the documents said.
The girl’s mother was afraid to intervene because Pomerrine Robert also hit her, the documents said.
Public Defender James Tabe said Tuesday his office will continue to represent Pomerrine Robert, but it’s unclear who will represent Kevin Robert. Tabe declined to comment on the allegations.
According to court records, Kevin Robert requested a Chuukese interpreter.