NEW YORK, NY – An 18-year-old woman from New York City has been liberated from a man who allegedly trafficked her for sex after meeting her online. The suspect, 33-year-old Javesh Persaud from Shirley, New York, is said to have encountered the victim on an app named Omegle in July, as reported by Suffolk County prosecutors. This app is designed to connect random individuals for conversation and video calls.
The suspect is accused of exploiting the victim’s vulnerability for his personal gain, subjecting her to repeated and horrific traumas, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. The victim, referred to as Jane Doe in legal documents, had been expelled from her father’s home after completing high school and turning 18. At the time she met Persaud, she was living in Manhattan subway stations. Persaud allegedly offered her food and shelter, claiming he worked with the homeless community.
However, when she agreed to meet him, he is said to have driven her 70 miles to a location where she knew no one, and informed her she would be living with him in his car. The following day, Persaud allegedly forced her into sex work, keeping the money she earned for himself. When she resisted, he is accused of physically assaulting her and threatening her with a knife.
The victim was allegedly coerced into continuing the sex work out of fear. The suspect is also charged with choking her into submission and sexually assaulting her. On September 1, Jane Doe managed to contact Polaris, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, leading to her rescue by Suffolk County Police and the arrest of Persaud.
Persaud faces an eight-count indictment, including four charges of sex trafficking, two of promoting prostitution, and two of criminal sex acts. He is currently held on a $500,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on October 16.
Alessandra Parisi Serano, the chief legal officer for Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit organization fighting human trafficking worldwide, highlights that poverty and homelessness are significant factors that make individuals particularly susceptible to traffickers.
Approximately 25 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking, as per the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report. Investigations have taken place 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.