A husband and wife are in jail, accused of running a sex trafficking ring together.
The man, who is believed to be a registered sex offender, and his wife were arrested after being accused of recruiting eight women through social media and New York City’s foster care system, and then forcing them into a prostitution ring over the past four years.
Kareem “Napoleon” Mitchell, 38, and Sharice Mitchell, 51, of the Bronx, were charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and conspiracy in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday.
The husband and wife pleaded not guilty during a Wednesday appearance in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Lawyers for the couple did not immediately return requests for comment by Insider on Thursday.
Prosecutors say that Kareem ran the sex-trafficking operation involving at least eight women between November 2018 and February 2022.
The women called him “Daddy,” and called each other “Wifey,” according to the New York Daily News, as Kareem would post pictures on social media to show off his “pimp lifestyle.”
He allegedly abused the women in text messages, and was heard threatening one of them verbally before his arrest Wednesday morning while leaving a “known prostitution area.”
“I’m going to pop you in the face, you dumb b—-. Get in the car,” he said, according to prosecutors. Sharice was arrested at her home in the Bronx, with prosecutors claiming two of the children she took under her care through the foster system were trafficked.
Court documents obtained by the Daily News say Sharice took the children, who were not identified, into her care in January 2019 and January 2020. Within a month, court documents claim, they started working as prostitutes for her husband.
“Prostitution advertisements were posted less than one month after her placement with the defendant,” Assistant District Attorney Laura Breen claimed.
The City’s Administration for Children’s Services, which oversees the foster system, said in a statement it was cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation. “We take the safety of the children and youth entrusted to our care in New York City’s foster care system extremely seriously,” the statement read.
“We do not tolerate anyone who exploits or puts children in danger,” it said, adding: “The vast majority of foster parents provide loving, safe environments.”
Sharice’s lawyer, Robert Levy, claimed that the prosecutor’s office had not demonstrated that his client was involved in the trafficking, other than her involvement in the foster care system. “I heard nothing that said she threatened anyone,” he said. “The fact is that she had two foster kids. That’s it. That was the allegation.”
The married couple pleaded not guilty to the charges. Kareem is now being held without bail, while Sharice had bail set at $500,000. If convicted, Kareem faces up to 100 years in prison, and Sharice faces up to 75 years.
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