A couple living in a Berkeley apartment building on Kittredge Street has been charged with human trafficking. Credit: Emilie Raguso
Chemon Parks. Credit: BPD

The Alameda County district attorney’s office has charged a Berkeley couple with human trafficking and other felony sex crimes in connection with a prostitution investigation dating back to at least April.

Authorities say Chemon Parks, 23, coerced a woman into having sex for money and rented motel rooms for her to engage in prostitution from April 9 through May 23.

Berkeley police say Parks told the woman he had purchased her for $20,000 from a man she had been dating, then took all of the money she earned from prostitution, according to court papers.

He also provided her with “protection” when male clients or other pimps “became a problem,” according to charging documents.

Berkeley sex crimes investigators said they found receipts in Parks’ name from two motels where the woman said she had been trafficked.

Parks also hit the woman multiple times, causing visible injuries at least once, according to police.

Kimora Ashby. Credit: BPD

According to charging papers, Parks did not work alone in the human trafficking operation. Police say Parks’ girlfriend, 22-year-old Kimora Ashby, created online escort advertisements that listed the woman for sale for sex.

Ashby also helped the woman dress for prostitution and showed her “how to prostitute on the street,” according to police.

Investigators arrested Parks and Ashby on Aug. 9 at 12:40 p.m. at their downtown Berkeley apartment at Oxford Plaza on Kittredge Street, according to court papers.

The next day, the DA’s office charged Parks and Ashby with three felonies each: human trafficking for commercial sex, pimping and pandering.

As of this week, Parks remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He is being held on $275,000 bail, according to booking records.

Ashby had also been held on $275,000 bail but was released on her own recognizance.

Both Parks and Ashby are scheduled for a plea hearing Friday at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse at 9 a.m.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, visit Alameda County’s HEAT (Human Exploitation and Trafficking) Watch resource page for help and support.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...