Three people arrested last week for human trafficking of two girls pleaded not guilty Monday to charges against them.
The three — Loretta Smith, Fredrick Smith and Eric Hodges — pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of human trafficking of a minor.
Fredrick Smith and Eric Hodges were also charged with rape of a minor.
Bakersfield police arrested the three last Friday.
In court documents, the girls told investigators they were forced into prostitution by the three people.
The girls also said Fredrick Smith punched, slapped, and strangled them as punishment for being “disrespectful” to him.
One of the girls, according to the documents, said Fredrick Smith forced her to have sex with him several times over a five-day period. She said Smith knew she was younger than 17 years old.