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2 teens were put to work as prostitutes, Somerset County cops say

SOMERVILLE — For the second time in a week, police in Somerset County have turned up an underage prostitution case and charged an adult with putting a teen girl in danger.

Danielle Belford, 20, of Branchburg, was arrested in the most recent incident after police received word that she was working as a prostitute and also negotiating for a 16-year-old to be used for prostitution as well, Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson said.

Robertson said an undercover detective contacted Belford on May 12 through an online advertisement and arranged a meeting with her. Robertson said an agreement was reached for the undercover detective to have sex with Belford and the girl.

Belford was charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree promoting prostitution by procuring a prostitute for a patron. She was released on her own recognizance and the girl was turned over to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

On May 10, the prosecutor’s office announced the arrest of Joniegh A. Tempro, 22, of Brentwood, New York, and Joshua Stewart, 28, of Bay Shore, New York, after police learned that a 16-year-old Somerset County girl was working as a prostitute under the direction of Tempro and Stewart.

Robertson said Tempro and Stewart were arranging for the girl to have sex with clients. Working with police in Elkton, Maryland, and the FBI, the defendants were found at a home in Maryland and were arrested.

They were charged with first-degree promoting prostitution involving a child under the age of 18, and first-degree human trafficking, and promoting a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. After they were arrested, they were being held in the Cecil County Detention Center in Maryland pending extradition. As of Tuesday, Tempro was being held at the Somerset County Jail while Stewart was still awaiting extradition.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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