16.6.20

New details in rapper Serius Jones’ pimping, human trafficking case

A famous battle rapper was arrested earlier this year after a Bay Area woman accused him of beating her up and demanding $20,000 as payment when she decided she no longer wanted him as her pimp, according to police records obtained by this newspaper.

Saleem Bligen, 39, who uses the stage name “Serius Jones,” is being held on a no-bail warrant in Contra Costa, facing eight felony counts that include human trafficking, pimping, robbery, criminal threats, assault, dissuading a witness, and possessing a stolen Lexus. According to records obtained by this news organization, the police investigation started last December with a stolen car report, before it snowballed into a sex trafficking case.

The charging records name a single alleged victim, a woman known publicly only as “Jane Doe,” to protect her identity. According to court records made public in May, Doe identified Bligen as her onetime pimp, and alleged that he stomped her with “Tims” — slang for Timberland brand boots — after she tried to separate herself from him. She said that when he was her pimp, he would become angry and threaten her if she failed to earn at least $1,500 per day.


Bligen has addressed the allegations in a freestyle rap recorded over a Contra Costa County jail phone and posted to Instagram on June 4. In the a cappella song, Bligen implies the charges are based on falsehoods, rapping, “OK now the cat’s out the bag, although it’s a lot more lying than a cat,” and referencing “ridiculous police statements” without elaboration. He also says he was not behind a GoFundMe page purportedly set up for him, which raised $110.

Doe said she came to know Bligen through a friend, and that at the time she was working as a dancer at a San Francisco strip club, police say. She alleged she was “working” for Bligen as a prostitute while he traveled between New Jersey, New York, and California, and that she had been a sex worker prior to meeting him.

The woman alleged that Bligen coached her on prostitution, telling her things like, “If (johns) don’t offer you money in the first five minutes, move onto the next one.” The woman said she occasionally walked “the blade” in San Francisco — slang term for an area known for prostitution — but mostly arranged for dates at hotels in the Bay Area and Hawaii, according to court records.


All of the proceeds went to Bligen, the woman alleged. Last October, she decided she’d had enough and told him she wasn’t willing to continue, police say. That’s when he showed up at her apartment, under extraordinary circumstances, police allege.

The woman said that on Oct. 14, she was at home in her apartment, when a 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Bay Area. She ran outside during the quake to look around. When she returned, Bligen was inside. She told police he demanded money, and when she refused, he knocked her to the ground and used his Timberland boots to step on her face, telling her, “You’re gonna die, b—-,” police records show.

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