Two Delray Beach men are facing human-trafficking charges after city police alleged they forced at least three women into prostitution.
At least one of the women came to South Florida for drug treatment, according to a police report released Monday. All three women are suffering from opioid addictions, and one of the men supplied them with drugs, the report said.
Police arrested Joseph Troutman, 47, and Ronald Carter, 37, after searching an undisclosed address in Delray Beach on Friday. Troutman was being held Monday at the West Detention Center in Belle Glade after a judge ordered that he be held without bail on two counts of human trafficking. He also is accused of aggravated battery and deriving proceeds from prostitution.
Carter was being held the Palm Beach County Jail on Monday after a judge ordered he held without bail on two counts of human trafficking. He is also accused of aggravated battery and deriving proceeds from prostitution.
Human trafficking is described as the exploitation of another person for labor, domestic servitude or commercial sexual activity through the use of fraud, force or coercion. Some have called it modern-day slavery. An anti-human-trafficking task force was formed in 2017 by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and the FBI.
Since the beginning of 2017, more than a dozen men in Palm Beach County have been accused of the crime. One has been convicted in county court, and another pleaded guilty to federal sex-trafficking charges in a case involving a minor.
Friday’s two arrests appear to be the first in Palm Beach County during 2018, according to court records.
According to city police, Troutman and Carter had the women working out of an apartment as prostitutes, charging from $160 to $200 for a “quick visit” to $500 for an overnight stay. One of the women described the men’s actions as “white slavery” and told investigators that Troutman brainwashed her.
Police say that Troutman paid the bills for the apartment while Carter acted as its security. One woman told police that Carter would beat her if she did not turn over all of her prostitution earnings.
Police say Troutman sold the women crack cocaine and heroin. One told police that she became homeless after she relapsed during drug treatment and was removed from a halfway house.
The woman said she was introduced to Troutman, who invited her to live with him.
Troutman reportedly confessed to the allegations and told police that he kept drugs in a small safe in his apartment, the police report said.