Crime & Courts

NC teen runaway forced to become a sex slave after meeting man on Facebook, feds say

The difference between prostitution and sex trafficking

According to experts, it's important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims with involuntary sex work.
Up Next
According to experts, it's important to understand the differences between prostitution, which is voluntary, and sex trafficking, which can trap victims with involuntary sex work.

A Charlotte man is accused of turning a North Carolina teen runaway into a sex slave in Charlotte and Miami after meeting her on Facebook, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The teen thought the man was taking her on a road trip to Miami, “where she would just smoke and walk on the beach,” according to an April 16 criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent in Miami. Instead, he forced her into prostitution at Charlotte and Miami hotels, the agent said.

The victim met up with the man after she ran away from her foster home in Greensboro on Feb. 24 and went with a friend to Columbus, North Carolina, the FBI agent said. Columbus is about 85 miles west of Charlotte in Polk County.

The complaint charges Willie Dishon Matthew Obadiah with sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion, which carries a sentence of up to life in prison. On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer in Charlotte ordered U.S. marshals to take Obadiah to Miami.

The victim told Obadiah she was 18, although she is 17, according to the complaint. Obadiah told her she was now “part of his family,” the agent said in the complaint.

Obadiah is accused of first driving the victim to a Charlotte hotel on Feb. 28, where he told her he would post online ads of her “for prostitution services,” according to documents in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. She was forced to take three prostitution “in-calls” for sexual intercourse, court records show.

On March 1, Obadiah left for Miami with the victim and three other females, according to the complaint. The teen was forced to use cocaine along the way, the FBI agent said in the complaint. In the Miami area, she was forced to take opioid pills, according to the complaint.

The teen was forced to perform sexual intercourse with four men at a Miami hotel and was sexually assaulted by Obadiah, the FBI agent said. When the teen escaped the hotel room, Obadiah caught up with her and took her to South Beach to stay with the other females who’d traveled with them from North Carolina.

When the teen told the other females she was only 17 and that Obadiah assaulted her, the other females “drove her to a relative’s home in the Miami area and left her there,” according to the complaint.

Jasmine Road is a residential community for survivors of sex trafficking in South Carolina. It is the first home to open for women in South Carolina.



Arien Pauls, now an advocate for women and trafficking victims in the Central Valley, talks about the night she escaped her trafficker in Las Vegas.

  Comments