LOS ANGELES – A South Los Angeles woman who describes herself on social media as “The Most Hated Hoe in LA” was indicted today on federal sex trafficking charges that include allegations that she used the internet to solicit two minor victims to engage in prostitution.
Melanie Denae Williams, 22, who uses the moniker “Pretty Hoe” on several social media platforms, was named in a five-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury.
The indictment specifically alleges one count of sex trafficking an adult by force, fraud, or coercion; two counts of sex trafficking of a minor; and two counts of enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution.
Williams has been held without bond in a federal jail since she was taken into custody on February 7 pursuant to a criminal complaint (she was initially arrested by local authorities on December 24). The affidavit in support of the complaint outlines allegations that Williams abused a woman she had recruited through social media to work as a prostitute. In one incident, Williams allegedly ordered the victim to strip off her clothes, and then Williams threw bleach on the woman and beat her with her hands and a broomstick, according to the affidavit.
The indictment makes new allegations of sex trafficking involving two minor females. Williams is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Friday in United States District Court.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of any of the charges in the indictment, Williams would face a potential life sentence. Each of the five charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence. The charge of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in federal, and each of the four counts related to minors carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
The investigation into Williams is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department as part of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department, South Bureau.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lana Morton-Owens and Joseph Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
Component(s): USAO – California, Central
Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney's Office Central District of California (Los Angeles)
Press Release Number: 18-040Updated March 14, 2018
Central District of California DOJ / 18-040 / March 13, 2018