A couple from New York City is facing sex trafficking charges after being accused of using the state’s foster care system to find victims. Authorities said that Sharice Mitchell, 51, and Kareem Mitchell, 38, forced at least eight young women into prostitution since 2018. Two of the victims were placed in the care of Sharice, who is a certified foster parent in the state of New York.
Prosecutors said that Sharice lied on forms to be a certified foster parent, claiming that she did not live with her husband Kareem, who is a registered sex offender. In addition, they noted that prostitution advertisements were posted within a month of one of the women being placed in Sharice’s care.
Officials said that all of the victims were over the age of 18.
The Mitchells were both charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy in the fourth degree. Kareem was also hit with charges of promoting prostitution in the third degree and aggravated harassment in the second degree.
“Sex traffickers target the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including – far too often – young New Yorkers in the child welfare system,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “As alleged, instead of providing a safe home, this husband and wife forced eight young women to engage in prostitution. We will continue to prioritize proactive investigations like these to dismantle sex trafficking operations and keep New Yorkers safe.”
Kareem faces up to 100 years in jail if convicted and was ordered to be held without bail. Sharice’s bail was set at $500,000, and she faces up to 75 years behind bars if convicted.