NEW YORK, NY – A young woman from New York City, aged 18, has been saved from the clutches of a man who reportedly forced her into sex trafficking after an online encounter. The accused, Javesh Persaud, a 33-year-old resident of Shirley, New York, allegedly met the victim through a social app called Omegle in July, as stated by the Suffolk County prosecutors. The app is designed to pair random users for chats and video calls.
The accused reportedly capitalized on the victim’s vulnerable state, subjecting her to unimaginable and repeated abuse for his financial gain, as per Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. The victim, referred to as Jane Doe in legal proceedings, had been evicted from her father’s home after her high school graduation and her 18th birthday. She was living in Manhattan subway stations when she encountered Persaud, who allegedly promised her food and shelter, claiming he was involved in homeless outreach.
However, when she agreed to meet him, he allegedly drove her 70 miles to an unfamiliar location and informed her she would be living with him in his car. The following day, Persaud reportedly forced her into sex work, pocketing the money she earned. When she resisted, he is accused of physically assaulting her and threatening her with a knife.
The victim reportedly continued the sex work out of fear. The accused is also charged with forcing her into compliance through strangulation and sexually assaulting her. On September 1, Jane Doe managed to reach out to Polaris, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, leading to her rescue by Suffolk County Police and the arrest of Persaud.
Persaud is facing an eight-count indictment, including four charges of sex trafficking, two of promoting prostitution, and two of criminal sex acts. He is currently detained on a $500,000 bond and is due in court on October 16.
Alessandra Parisi Serano, the chief legal officer for Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit organization combating human trafficking globally, emphasizes that poverty and homelessness are significant factors that make individuals particularly vulnerable to traffickers.
According to the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, around 25 million people globally are victims of trafficking. Investigations have been conducted across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories, involving both American citizens and foreign nationals. The Department of Homeland Security reports that one in four victims of human trafficking or modern slavery are children, with the majority of forced laborers, including forced sex workers, being women and girls.