A married Bronx couple is accused of sex-trafficking eight young women â including two who were in the wife's care as a foster parent.
Sharice Mitchell, 51, and Kareem Mitchell, 38, were charged conspiracy and sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan Criminal Court for running a prostitution ring starting in 2018, prosecutors said.
At least eight women were allegedly forced by the couple to engage in prostitution in cars and hotels around the city, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Sharice Recruited Women Looking for Foster Homes
Sharice, a certified New York State foster parent, found recruits among vulnerable young New Yorkers looking for homes through the foster system, according to the indictment.
The two young women that Sharice Mitchell took in through the foster system and allegedly trafficked were referred to only as "Individual 1â³ and "Individual 2.â³ Sharice received them into her care in January 2019 and January 2020.
Both foster children quickly started working as prostitutes for her husband, according to the indictment. "Prostitution advertisements were posted less than one month after her placement with the defendant," said Assistant District Attorney Lauren Breen about one of the young foster women.
One of the women was 24, prosecutors said. They did not specify the other ages, saying only that none of the women was under 18. In New York, young people can leave foster care once they reach the age of 18, but they can also choose to stay in care until they turn 21.
Kareem Physically Abused, Threatened the Women
Kareem recruited the women through social media and then used physical and verbal abuse to coerce them into prostitution, according to prosecutors.
"Yeah I like bâ-s that's in pocket. That know they place," he wrote in one of the threatening text messages.
"I'm going to pop you in the face, you dumb bâ-. Get in the car," he texted another before he was arrested from a well-known prostitution area on Wednesday.
Kareem is an ex-con and had to register as a sex offender in 2008 for forcing a 17-year-old girl to engage in prostitution. He served just under six years in prison for that sentence and was released on a five year probation.
Sharice, who was arrested from her Bronx apartment, allegedly lied to the State Office of Children and Family Services on her application, claiming she had no contact with Kareem and that no registered sex-offenders lived in her home. She was "complicit in her husband's sex-trafficking operation and assisted him in his enterprise," Breen said.
"Sex traffickers target the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including â far too often â young New Yorkers in the child welfare system," said Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. "Instead of providing a safe home, this husband and wife forced eight young women to engage in prostitution."