West Palm Beach — Two women on Monday were accused of helping a 48-year-old South Florida man traffic young women throughout the country from homes in Delray Beach.
Like William Foster, who was arrested last month, Hanah Chan and Ashleigh Holloway face possible life sentences if convicted of sex trafficking by fraud, coercion or force. Chan is also charged with transportation of an individual for prostitution.
While the federal indictment filed against the women was unsealed Monday, neither has yet to appear in court.
Foster, who in November was denied bond by a judge who deemed him a danger to the community, pleaded not guilty to three new charges filed against him by a federal grand jury.
He now faces three counts of sex trafficking by force, along with charges of conspiracy to sex traffic minors, sex trafficking of a minor and transportation of an individual for prostitution.
The two women — described by FBI agents as Foster’s “main girls” — were partners with him in various businesses, including one that masqueraded as a charity that would help women escape the sex trade. Instead, federal prosecutors said, the nonprofit, Foster’s Care Inc., was a sham.
Asking “Are you a victim of the sex trade?” its sophisticated website claimed to offer free help to victims of sex trafficking, including housing, therapy, medical treatment, job training and police assistance.
However, its address was a UPS store in Fort Lauderdale, prosecutors said. Young women who called seeking help would be connected to one of Foster’s phones.
The two women and Foster were also partners in a company that owned a house on Franwood Drive in Delray Beach, which FBI agents described as a stash house for women forced into prostitution, Palm Beach County property records show.
Chan is listed as the owner of another home on Sherwood Forest Drive that was also part of what prosecutors described as “Foster’s criminal organization,” records show. Another house that was used as a warehouse for young women is on Angler Drive, they said.
FBI agents said they began investigating Foster in 2017 when two girls claimed he recruited them and other minors to work as prostitutes. He preyed on vulnerable girls who were in group homes, homeless shelters or strip clubs, the teens told federal agents.
Luring them with the promise of wealth, Foster forced them to sell their bodies and kept their earnings. He taught them how to be attractive to rich men, forced them to diet and paid for their cosmetic surgery, including breast enlargement, nose jobs and liposuction.
The investigation culminated in September when a woman called the National Human Trafficking Hotline, claiming Foster had dispatched her and six others to Detroit. With Hurricane Dorian threatening South Florida, Foster decided there was no money to be made in prostitution until the storm passed so he sent the young women north, prosecutors said.
When Detroit police went to a hotel room, they found the seven women, who said Foster told them they couldn’t leave until they had earned at least $150,000. Police said they found a handmade thermometer-style chart the women used to gauge their progress.
At a hearing last month, a man who described himself as Foster’s friend said that while Foster lived off the earnings of young women, he didn’t abuse them. “He’s a nice guy, and girls like him,” said the Miami man, who declined to give his name.
(c)2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
Visit The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.) at www.palmbeachpost.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.