SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J. -- ( UPDATE ) A human trafficking ringleader faces 13 years in prison after admitting his role Monday in prostituting a 16-year-old girl at motels in South Hackensack and Clifton.
Glen Bowman Sr., 42, of Newark, will be eligible for parole in five years, under the deal he struck with prosecutors.
In return, he pleaded guilty Monday in Superior Court in Hackensack to first-degree conspiracy to commit human trafficking.
Bowman ran the prostitution ring with his wife, Ernestine Bowman, 33, of Orange, who pleaded guilty to her role last December in exchange for a 10-year state prison sentence with parole eligibility after three years.
The couple's son, Glen Bowman Jr., 23, of Brooklyn, previously pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution, as did two other defendants: Tokina Williams, 33, of Raleigh, NC, and 29-year-old Jessica "China White" Copeland.
Copeland admitted last month that she served as boss or “bottom” over the prostitutes in the ring, which advertised on Backpage.com.
The young victim -- who'd been reported missing -- was forced to work as a prostitute Monday through Friday while remaining captive in an apartment in the Bronx on the weekends, , an investigation by state authorities and South Hackensack detectives found.
New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino commended South Hackensack police and attorneys in the state Division of Criminal Justice for "rescuing this victim and bringing those responsible to justice.”
“This man threatened to beat the 16-year-old victim if she didn’t follow his orders and perform to his expectations for clients of his prostitution ring,” he said.
Those responsible "isolated and intimidated a vulnerable victim," keeping her trapped in a "hellish life of slavery," so they could "exploit her for their profit," the Attorney General added.
State authorities also singled out South Hackensack Police Capt. Robert Kaiser, Lt. Robert Chinchar and Detective James Donatello for praise.
“Our department has been committed to conducting these undercover operations to flush out the criminality of prostitution and narcotics in our motels,” South Hackensack Police Chief Joseph Terraccino said. “We remain committed to rescuing these victims from the underworld and arresting the predators who are responsible.”
It began when an undercover borough police officer responded to Backpage.com advertisement of a very young girl with her breasts exposed and was told he could have “full sex” with her for $160 cash at a motel on Route 46 in South Hackensack.
When the officer arrived for the motel “appointment,” the girl answered the door. He asked why the bathroom door was closed, and discovered a woman there identified as Tonika Williams.
The girl invited Williams to come out and told her that the client had paid to have sex with both of them, authorities said.
At that point, backups converged on the room and Williams and the girl were taken into custody.
Soon after, Ernestine Bowman arrived at the motel to pick up the others and was arrested, as well.
The youngster was turned over to New Jersey child protection workers, local police told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
The investigation found that the girl was being trafficked for sex by the three Bowmans, with Copeland keeping an eye on her and driving her to work at various hotels.
Copeland and the elder Bowman also threatened the girl with violence “if she did not follow their rules and perform to their expectations,” an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Newark says.
At the end of each day, it says, either Copeland or other defendants picked the various girls up and collected the day’s proceeds.
Williams also worked as a prostitute while supervising the girl and collecting her proceeds at the end of the day, the indicdtment says.
Glen Bowman Sr. and Copeland were arrested in August 2014 in New York on an indictment filed by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office charging them with sexually trafficking two adult women in New York and New Jersey in 2012 and 2013,
Ernestine Bowman then took on a greater leadership role in the ring, authorities charged -- making hotel reservations, driving the 16-year-old victim to hotels and giving her with condoms and lingerie to wear. She also collected the money, they said.
Deputy Attorney General Brandy T. Malfitano presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Human Trafficking Unit. The DCJ investigation was conducted for Detective Timothy Savage, Sgt. Noelle Holl, Lt. Lisa Cawley and the other detectives in the Human Trafficking Unit.
Deputy Attorneys General Brandy Malfitano and Jamie Picard are prosecuting the defendants. Malfitano took Copeland's guilty plea.
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State authorities urge anyone who suspects sex- or labor-related human trafficking to confidentially notify the Division of Criminal Justice through its 24-hour NJ Human Trafficking Hotline: 877-986-7534
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