NJ family turned runaway teen girl into a sex slave, prosecutors say
An Essex County woman has admitted to working with her husband and son to force a runaway teenage girl into becoming a sex slave.
Ernestine Bowman, 32, of Orange, was indicted with four others in April 2015. She pleaded guilty this week to second-degree facilitating human trafficking and faces 10 years in prison when she is sentenced in February.
Bowman was accused of posting online advertisements for the Brooklyn teen and conspiring to pimp her out in motels in South Hackensack and Clifton.
“This plea ensures that the defendant will face a lengthy term behind bars for her role in the brutal sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old runaway,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino.
“Bowman helped her husband trap a vulnerable girl in a miserable life of sexual slavery, where the victim faced threats of violence if she did not meet the demands of her captors.”
Her husband Glen Bowman Sr., 41, and Jessica Renee "China White" Copeland, 28, of Newark, are charged with first-degree conspiracy, human trafficking and promoting prostitution of a minor. Tokina Williams, 33, of Raleigh, N.C., pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting prostitution.
Her son Glen Bowman Jr., 22, of Brooklyn, is facing seven years in prison after pleading guilty to to second-degree conspiracy to promote prostitution.
The investigation began in 2014 as an undercover operation by the South Hackensack Police Department targeting a prostitution ring that advertised on Backpage.com, where an advertisement appeared of the teen posing with her breasts exposed.
The teen was in the hotel room when an undercover cop showed up. She charged the cop $160 for “full sex” with her and Williams.
The girl, who had been reported missing, met the younger Bowman, who conspired with his father to lure the girl into a life of prostitution and threatened her with violence, prosecutors say. Copeland was accused of being the boss over the prostitutes.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.