NJ woman, 22, convinced teen to engage in prostitution with her, authorities say
A 22-year-old New Jersey woman is facing child endangerment and human trafficking charges for allegedly urging a 16-year-old girl to engage in prostitution with her, sometimes meeting with up to four men in a single day.
Barbara B. Cantz of Westville was indicted Thursday by a state grand jury on first degree charges of conspiracy, human trafficking, promoting prostitution and promoting organized street crime, as well as second-degree charges of facilitating human trafficking and endangering the welfare of a child, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement.
According to the attorney general's office, Cantz first met the 16-year-old runaway earlier this year. She then invited the teen to move into the Cherry Hill hotel room where she had been living and allegedly working as a prostitute. Authorities say she urged the girl to engage in prostitution with her and meet men together so that they could make more money.
In a statement Thursday, the attorney general that Cantz allegedly put ads featuring photos of herself on a website called Backpage.com as well as on another website aimed and soliciting clients for prostitution. Authorities say Cantz also allegedly asked the girl to provide photos of herself wearing only underwear so that the pictures could be sent to prospective clients, the attorney general said.
According to the attorney general, Cantz allegedly made arrangements for herself and the teen to meet with men together at multiple places throughout the state and would make up to four appointments with men in one day.
“Cantz allegedly lured a young runaway into a life of prostitution for the despicable purpose of increasing her own profits,” Porrino said. “Our human trafficking laws are intended to protect vulnerable victims and provide stern punishment for those like Cantz who are charged with exploiting them.”
If convicted of the human trafficking charge, Cantz faces 20 years to life in prison without parole and a $200,000 fine. She could also face an additional 10-20 years in prison on the other first degree charges, along with $150,000 in fines. if convicted on the second degree charges, she could be sentences to five to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000, the attorney general said. Cantz is currently free on $150,000 bail.
Authorities urge anyone who suspects human trafficking to call the Division of Criminal Justice’s confidential Human Trafficking Hotline 1-855-END-NJ-HT.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.