By Philip Newman
A South Ozone Park man has been charged with sex trafficking, rape and other crimes for allegedly forcing a 16-year-old girl into a life of prostitution and threatening to kill her should she try to flee from her plight, the Queens DA said.
“The defendant took advantage of a young girl shortly after she turned 16 to enslave and force her to work as a prostitute and turn all of her earnings over to him beginning when she was 16 and with physically abusing her and threatening her with death when she pleaded to be allowed to stop living as a prostitute,” said DA Richard Brown.
“Some would say prostitution is a victimless crime,” Brown said. “It is not.”
Brown identified the defendant as Shawn Hawkins, 23, of 122nd Street in South Ozone Park. Hawkins was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Bruna Dibiase on a criminal complaint charging him with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and endangering the welfare of a child.
Hawkins faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
He was held on $500,000 bond, $250,000 cash bail and ordered to return to court March 21, Brown said.
According to the charges, Hawkins took the girl – now 18 – to a Jamaica hotel around her 16th birthday and had sexual intercourse with her, then asked her to work for him as a prostitute.
He is alleged to have posted signs advertising the girl and illustrated with her photo, the complaint said.
Hawkins demanded that the girl address him as “Daddy.”
According to the charges, when Hawkins ordered the victim to work as a prostitute on Jan 14, 2017 she refused and Hawkins punched her in the face and threw her to the floor, spraining her ankle. While then girl lay on the floor, Hawkins is alleged to have repeatedly punched her face, bruising her left eye.
On occasions when the girl was too tired to work, Hawkins made her take cocaine or Xanax to keep calm and at work.