TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two New Jersey men and another from South Carolina have pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges involving a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly forced into prostitution.
Michael McLeod, a 25-year-old Jersey City man who led the ring, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit human trafficking and facilitation of human trafficking. He faces 18 years in state prison.
The two others, 29-year-old David Powell Jr., of Jersey City, and 20-year-old Demetrius Hayward, of Summerville, South Carolina, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate human trafficking.
All three men are due to be sentenced May 13.
Authorities say McLeod used threats and violence to force the girl and an 18-year-old woman to work as prostitutes. The two each had sex with up to 10 men per day, with all the money going to McLeod.
“This is a heartbreaking case that fits a classic pattern of human trafficking,” New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said back in October. ” … No child would submit to such horrific conditions unless she faced a threat of violence, which in this case allegedly was conveyed by the ring’s boss in the form of brutal attacks on a second victim.”
McLeod allegedly held a gun to the 18-year-old’s head and threatened to kill her.
The FBI Child Exploitation Task Force received a tip that photos of the 14-year-old were being used in ads for a female escort service.
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