D.A. Vance: Announces Sentencing of Sex Trafficker Who Preyed on Women With Substance Use Disorders


September 26, 2019

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of CHARLES WHITE, 39, to 10 years in prison with 5 years of post-release supervision for trafficking two young women inside his Harlem house over the course of two years beginning in 2016.

“Traffickers target those who live on the margins of our communities,” said District Attorney Vance. “These defendants preyed on women who struggled with substance use disorders, capitalizing on their vulnerabilities and use of opioids to force them into prostitution for the defendants’ financial gain. This case illustrates our Human Trafficking Response Unit’s approach to justice for sex trafficking survivors – in addition to holding traffickers responsible for their horrific conduct, we also provide critical services to survivors as they recover their lives.”

On August 8, 2019, WHITE pleaded guilty to two counts of Sex Trafficking. Codefendant JASON WALDEN, 33, pleaded guilty on August 8, 2019, to one count of Attempted Sex Trafficking and was later sentenced on September 5, 2019, to 8 years in prison with 5 years of post-release supervision.

According to their guilty pleas and as stated on the record in court, WHITE and WALDEN trafficked two women at a house known as “the White House” on West 129th Street in Harlem, and occasionally took them elsewhere within New York City. Over the course of two years, the defendants and their associates posted ads on Backpage.com, and forced two women to engage in prostitution with as many as 15 men each night. Both women were from small cities outside New York State and suffered from substance use disorders relating to opioids. They were kept on the third floor of the house in dangerous conditions, living without heat and access to basic hygiene products, and were given narcotics, including cocaine, to keep them awake and alert so they could respond to calls at all hours. When the women refused, the defendants assaulted them, including beating them with whips and belts, causing bruising, lacerations, and infections. One of the victims suffered permanent hearing loss after WALDEN hit her on the side of her head when she refused to perform a sex act on another individual.

After identifying the case through an undercover operation conducted by NYPD, the D.A.’s Human Trafficking Response Unit worked closely with the victims to support them in recovering and rebuilding their lives, including referrals for services like substance use treatment and housing assistance, while also building the case against their traffickers.

Assistant D.A. Leah Branch handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Carolina Holderness, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit; Executive Assistant D.A. Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau; and Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Former Investigative Analysts Hannah Wirt and Elizabeth MacNeil also provided valuable assistance in the prosecution of this case, as did Senior Investigators Sean Ryan and Ariela DaSilva. In particular, the work of Melissa Martinez-Valdes, the Human Trafficking Response Unit’s full-time social worker, was critical to this case.

District Attorney Vance thanked Detective Liam O’Hara of the New York City Police Department’s Manhattan North Gang Unit.

Defendant Information:

CHARLES WHITE, D.O.B. 11/26/1980
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Sex Trafficking, a class B felony, 2 counts

Sentenced:

  • 10 years in state prison
  • 5 years post-release supervision

JASON WALDEN, D.O.B. 11/21/1986
New York, NY

Convicted:

  • Attempted Sex Trafficking, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 8 years in state prison
  • 5 years of post-release supervision