A Fort Lauderdale man was arrested Wednesday and charged with sex trafficking minors, officials with the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Van Lawson Williams, 49, made his first appearance in federal court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer and will have a bond hearing May 24.
According to a criminal complaint, Williams, a convicted felon, would entice young runaway girls to have sex for money and shelter. Williams would also give the girls drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy, the report said.
The victims told authorities customers paid $20 or $30 to rent Williams' bedroom and paid the girls $100 - $150 for sex, the complaint said. The $100 - $150 would be equally split with Williams, the report said.
The complaint also alleges Williams physically abused some of the girls and even threatened one of them with a machete.
Williams has not yet been assigned a public defender, court officials said.
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