A Providence, Rhode Island man was charged on Tuesday with sex trafficking for allegedly forcing a 20-year-old girl to work as his prostitute, in Queens.
According to District Attorney Richard Brown, Paul Monteiro, 26, approached his victim in Providence on July 21 and asked if she wanted to visit New York City with him. After several days in New York, the victim asked Monteiro to take her home, and he allegedly refused and demanded money.
“I own you. If you make a couple of dollars, you can go home,” Monteiro allegedly told the victim.
Over the next week, prosecutors claim Monteiro posted the victim’s picture on websites and began to arrange for her to have sexual encounters with multiple men throughout Queens. Any money she received was allegedly given to Monteiro.
Officers from the 108th Precinct arrested Monteiro on July 30, and allegedly recovered a bag of marijuana from his car. He is charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, unlawful imprisonment and unlawful possession of marijuana.
“The defendant allegedly enticed a young woman to travel with him to New York City with promises of showing her the sights,” Brown said. “Instead, he is charged with enslaving her and forcing her to work as a prostitute and turn all of her money over to him. Sex trafficking is a violent and degrading crime that will not be tolerated.”
In 2007, the state legislature strengthened penalties against human trafficking and created public assistance programs for victims.
Monteiro faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.