A Baltimore woman is facing 135 charges related to running a sex-trafficking organization that police say forced at least 11 into sex work for almost two years.

Kenika D. Leach, 33, was charged in Washington County, one of three Maryland counties where police say the ring operated, and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case. They say she called her group “The Pussy Kat Klub” and exploited women who were vulnerable because of drug addiction or homelessness.

Leach is currently represented by Washington County’s deputy public defender, Sean Mukherjee, who said in an email that she is presumed innocent of the charges.

Leach created a dynamic that led women to owe her a “drug debt,” cutting off their supply of drugs unless they performed commercial sex acts, the indictment said. If the women wanted an extra dose or could not afford to pay, the money they had earned from sex work often went directly to Leach.

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Investigators say Leach and her co-conspirators — Harold Flichman, Darryl Moore and Stephanie Guessford — advertised women of “all different flavors[,] shapes[,] and sizes” on escort websites. Leach determined the type of work, including length and prices, the women would do and communicated with clients using coded language. “Donations” and “roses,” for example, meant payment.

Money often went directly to Leach, who police say received nearly $40,000 between July 2020 and December 2021.

The women had to text Leach to ask for basic needs like toilet paper, cellphone chargers, condoms and food, according to charging documents, or to get permission to leave the room if they were experiencing withdrawal symptoms. They also asked her for their daily ration of drugs through text messages.

According to the indictment, Leach physically assaulted several women for disobeying her rules, though she was careful to avoid their faces. One time, Leach and Flichman, one of the supervisors, abducted a woman from her mother’s house in Hagerstown because she owed a “drug debt.”

Police began their investigation in December 2021 after a woman went to the hospital for painful cramps and told medical staff she was being trafficked.

Police arrested Leach on unrelated warrants in January. She is scheduled to appear in court on June 24.

Clara Longo de Freitas is a neighborhood reporter covering East Baltimore communities. Before joining the Banner, she interned at The Baltimore Sun as an emerging news and community reporter. She also has design and illustration experience with several news organizations, including The Hill and NPR.

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