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Police arrested a West Central City man this week for allegedly forcing a 12-year-old girl into prostitution.

A 20-year-old is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated exploitation of prostitution. Officers arrested him Monday after the girl's mother called 911.The woman told police her daughter began crying earlier that evening, saying she didn't want to leave the house but "had to go."

The mother persuaded her daughter to tell her why she was upset, and the girl admitted she had been performing sex acts for money on State Street, according to a police report.

"We just sat down on the floor and I held her and she cried," the mother said in an interview late Wednesday. "I can't believe this has happened. She's so young and disconnected that she doesn't know what kind of danger she is in."

Officers corroborated the child's story with statements from four other people, including two girls who accompanied the 12-year-old on "tricks."

According to the witnesses, the suspect became a pimp to the girl by approaching her through one of her friends, the report states. The child's friend, who is 13, told police the suspect asked her to see "if (the girl) would do it . . . if she would work for (him) full-time," according to the report.

Her mother said the girl agreed because she was drunk when asked. She was scared to quit prostituting because she feared the suspect and had sworn an oath on the memory of a dead "Crips" gang member to work for him, the mother said.

"She thought she couldn't go back on the oath because the gang would beat her," the mother said. "She has the body of a 17-year-old but the mind of 12-year-old. She still is afraid of them."

The girl had been prostituting for about four nights, the mother said, noting she was a virgin before being forced to sell her body.

The suspect allegedly received all of the money the girl earned, about $100. He rented a motel room with it, bought food, and drugs, the police report states. No charges have been filed, and the suspect denies any involvement in the case, police say.

The mother said a mental-health agency has agreed to help her daughter deal with the situation and also determine whether the girl has a problem with drug and alcohol addiction.

David Keith Bolin, 20, remains in the Salt Lake County Jail on $15,000 bail. Detectives planned to screen possible charges against the man later Thursday.