Five people, including a man, his wife and and his son, have been indicted on conspiracy and human trafficking charges after they allegedly lured a 16-year-old girl from Brooklyn to New Jersey and forced her into prostitution, authorities in the Garden State said.
Glen Bowman Sr., Glen Bowman Jr., Ernestine Bowman, Jessica Renee Copeland and Tonkina Williams were named in a 12-count indictment charging them with promoting prostitution, conspiracy, human trafficking and endangerment charges after undercover officers arrested a 16-year-old girl during a prostitution raid in South Hackensack in October, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Officers began investigating the case after finding a photo of the girl partially nude on the website Backpage.com, according to the attorney general’s office. An undercover officer responded to the ad featuring the girl’s photo and was allegedly told during a phone call that he could have “full sex” for $160 at a motel on New Jersey Route 46.
The officer then allegedly went to the hotel, where the teenage girl answered the door. She allegedly told him the price of “full sex” was $160 before accepting that amount in cash. After paying, the officer asked why a bathroom door in the room was closed and learned a woman was inside.
The teen asked the woman, later determined to be Williams, to come out of the room and told her that the officer had paid to have sex with both of them. That’s when backup officers arrived and arrested the teen and Williams.
After the arrest, the officers learned the girl’s age and that she had been reported missing out of Brooklyn. The teen told authorities she allegedly met Glen Bowman Jr. months before the bust, according to the attorney general’s office. He allegedly worked with his father to lure her away from home, where she was forced into prostitution by the family and Copeland, described as the ring's "bottom" prostitute.
The girl was later threatened with violence on at least one occasion and had been driven to hotels and motels in South Hackensack, Clifton and other areas in New Jersey to work as prostitute. The suspects allegedly took all the money the girl and other prostitutes in the group had been paid at the end of each night.
According to the attorney general’s office, Glen Bowman Sr. and Copeland were arrested in August on sex trafficking charges after allegedly leading a prostitution ring in the Bronx between 2012 and 2013. They were in a New York City jail at the time of the raid.
Ernestine Bowman allegedly ran the ring while her husband and Copeland were in jail. She was arrested when she went to pick up the girl at the end of the night of the raid and is still in police custody, authorities say.
Glen Bowman Jr. and Williams remain fugitives, the attorney general’s office says.