MAYS LANDING, N.J. (FOX 29) - Police have charged an Atlantic County man in connection with human trafficking in Mays Landing, prosecutors annonuced Sunday.
El Joshua, 36, has been charged with five counts of human trafficking and related offenses.
The charges stemmed from a two months-long crossdepartmental invesigation between the Township of Hamilton Police Department and the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.
Officials say Joshua held three woman captive over an unspecified period of time and forced them to engage in various forms of labor, including forced prostitution and domestic servitude, through violence, threats of violence, coercion and the provision of heroin.
BREAKING: Human trafficking arrest in #MaysLanding, #NJ. Official says there are three victims. Five counts of human trafficking in the criminal charges. @FBI working with local law enforcement. Details to come soon. @FOX29philly— Dave Kinchen on FOX🇺🇸🌎 (@DKinchenFOX29) February 24, 2019
One woman reportedly managed to escape through a window and alerted authorities. The two other women were subsequently recovered.
“Human trafficking is a serious problem that plagues our community," said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner. "Whether through prostitution or other forms of forced labor, such as restaurants and nail salons, we as a community must recognize the signs and report suspected incidents to law enforcement immediately."
Joshua is lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility, and the state has moved to detain him. A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is urged to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or visit the prosecutor’s office website.
People can also call Crime Stoppers, which offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County, at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or by visiting Crime Stoppers.