Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Atlantic City Man Charged with Human Trafficking for Holding Women Captive and Forcing Prostitution

MAYS LANDING – An Atlantic City man has been charged with human trafficking for holding multiple women captive and forcing them into prostitution, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced today.
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Donnie Bethea, 30, was charged with operating a human trafficking enterprise, in which he lured women into various motels in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township, where he held them against their will and forced them into prostitution.
A joint investigation conducted by the Egg Harbor Township Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Innocence Lost” Task Force, revealed that over the course of the past five months, Bethea had lured at least six women to the Ramada Limited and other West Atlantic City motels, where he would hold them captive in a room and threaten them with serious bodily harm or physical restraint. 

Bethea then used the online classifieds website to advertise the women as providers of sexual services, forcing the women to engage in prostitution with men whom responded to the ads. Bethea would force the women to turn over all money they received to him.
On Aug. 28, Egg Harbor Township Police arrested Bethea after discovering that he had been holding a 22-year-old woman against her will, in a room at the Ramada Limited, and forcing her to engage in prostitution. Bethea was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault, Promoting Prostitution, Aggravated Assault, Criminal Restraint and Possession of a Weapon. He was lodged at the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of $250,000 bail.
On Sept. 10, Bethea was additionally charged with counts of Promoting Prostitution and Criminal Restraint after detectives discovered Bethea had previously held another 22- year-old woman against her will for a week in a room at the Ramada and forced her to engage in prostitution.
The Egg Harbor Township Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau and the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” Task Force have been investigating Bethea’s human trafficking enterprise since April of 2013. The Task Force is comprised of members of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, and NJ Department of Human Services. Detective Greg Engstler of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Bill Adamson of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Paul Vanaman of the Human Services Police Department, led the task force in investigating Bethea and identifying additional victims.
The joint investigation resulted in the discovery of four more female victims, all in their early 20’s.
Following the discovery of the additional victims, acting Prosecutor McClain authorized additionally charging Bethea with six counts of first-degree human trafficking.
Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor has set Bethea’s bail for the human trafficking charges at $1 million full cash.
Human trafficking, a crime of the first-degree, caries a state prison sentence of between 10-20 years and up to $200,000 in fines.
***These charges are merely an accusation and not proof of guilt. In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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