Fort Lauderdale Man Arrested on Charges of Sex Trafficking of Minors
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Franklin C. Adderly, Chief of Police, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, announced that Van Lawson Williams, 49, of Fort Lauderdale, was arrested on charges of sex trafficking of minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591(a)(1). Williams made his initial appearance today in federal court in Fort Lauderdale before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer, and will have a bond hearing on May 24, 2012 at 11:00 am before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Williams met minor females, many of them runaways, in his neighborhood and invited them to stay with him at his Fort Lauderdale residence, promising them food and shelter. Williams would then convince the girls to work as prostitutes. Williams would allegedly charge the prostitution customers a fee for “renting” one of his bedrooms and would collect all the money the customers paid to have sex with the minor females. The complaint also alleges that Williams provided the girls with illegal narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the FBI-lead Minor Vice Task Force and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corey Steinberg and Scott Behnke.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.