What to Know
- El Joshua, 36, of Mays Landing, is accused of holding three women captive and forcing them into prostitution.
- Joshua allegedly forced them into the sex trade through violence, threats, coercion and the provision of heroin.
- One of the women escaped through a window and alerted authorities who rescued the other women, police said.
A woman who police say was being held captive and sold into sexual slavery at a South Jersey home was able to escape her human trafficker after sneaking out of a window.
She ran to police for help. When officers arrived they rescued two additional women. After an investigation, they arrested their alleged captor about two months later.
El Joshua, 36, of Mays Landing, was arrested on Feb. 21 and charged with human trafficking, criminal restraint and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Joshua held the women, all in their 20's, captive inside a Mays Landing home for several weeks, investigators said.
He's accused of forcing the women into prostitution and domestic servitude using violence, coercion and by providing heroin. He also used an air-soft gun to scare two of the victims, according to court records.
“Human trafficking is a serious problem that plagues our community,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said. “Whether through prostitution or other forms of forced labor, such as restaurants and nail salons, we as a community must recognize the signs and report suspected incidents to law enforcement immediately. I thank our partners at the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Township of Hamilton Police Department for their dedication and work on this investigation.”
Joshua is being held in the Atlantic County Justice facility. A detention hearing will be held on Feb. 27. Court records reveal Joshua was also charged in December with punching a woman in the mouth and threatening to kill her during what was then labeled as a domestic violence dispute.
Investigators are working to determine if Joshua had any other victims.