Undercover officers use online ads to set up prostitution deals in effort to rescue sex trafficking victims, FBI agents say
FBI: 4 teenage girls rescued from sex traffickers in South Florida during Super Bowl week
MIAMI – After finding an online prostitution ad on the Skip The Games site, an undercover officer set up a $300 per-hour meeting at a hotel room in Miami-Dade County’s University Park neighborhood, records show.
While inside the second-floor room at the Comfort Inn & Comfort Suites, the officer reported the woman from Connecticut undressed in front of him just before he allowed other officers into the room.
The woman told the officers a teenage girl, who was known as “Redd,” found her on the MeetMe app and introduced her to Edward Walker, who she said also forced the girl into prostitution in South Beach and University Park.
Walker told the girl “that if she did not make him enough money by prostituting herself, he was going to punch her,” FBI Special Agent Alex G. Loff wrote in a complaint, adding that there were 253 online ads to sell the teenage girl for sex in Connecticut, Texas and Florida.
The teenage girl agents rescued from Walker’s grip is among four teenage girls rescued from accused sex traffickers during Super Bowl LIV week in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the FBI reported Friday afternoon.
Aside from arresting Edward Walker, 46, in Miami-Dade, agents also arrested Richard Walker and Tiphani Pereira for sex trafficking in Broward County.
According to FBI Special Agent Joseph Oliver, an undercover officer responded to an ad on the Mega Personals site. The officer paid $240 to meet a sex trafficking victim for 30 minutes at the Crossland Economy Studios in Fort Lauderdale, according to the complaint.
The victim later told officers that she had met Pereira, 25, on Facebook and their “friendship developed into a business relationship” that later turned abusive.
“Pereira’s mother also worked out of the Crosslands Motel under the direction of a pimp known as Nick,” Oliver wrote in the complaint.
The victim said she feared Pereira, a former prostitute, and Pereira’s 24-year-old boyfriend, Richard Walker, who after losing his job at a dealership became involved in the arrangement.
“Walker carried a .40 or 45 caliber black handgun in his pocket,” Oliver wrote, adding that the victim “was in fear for her life if she tried to stop completing commercial sex acts in which Pereira received payments.”
The victim told the officer Pereira was taking 50% of her earnings while using mostly two mobile apps to conduct the sex trafficking operation: Talkatone to arrange meetings and CashApp to pay her.
Edward Walker, who is not related to the Richard Walker case in Broward County, faces a federal charge of sex trafficking a minor or by force, fraud or coercion.
Pereira and Richard Walker each face charges of recruit, entice, harbor, transport, or advertise a victim to engage in commercial sex acts by means of force, threats of force, or coercion; and conspiracy to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, or advertise a victim to engage in commercial sex acts by means of force, threats of force, or coercion.
Records show Richard Walker also faces a charge of false statements to a federal officer charge after denying his involvement despite the evidence.
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