Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino today announced that a Burlington County couple has been arrested on charges including first-degree human trafficking of a minor for allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl to engage in prostitution at area motels for their profit.
The couple allegedly posted nude photos of the girl on Backpage.com advertising her services as an “escort” and had her snort crystal methamphetamine with them while they had her working as a prostitute.
Christopher K. White, 19, of Eastampton, N.J., was arrested on May 22 by the Mount Holly Police Department.
He faces the following first-degree charges:
1. human trafficking of a minor,
human trafficking by receiving money for organizing or managing a scheme of human trafficking,
human trafficking by providing a controlled dangerous substance, and promoting prostitution of a minor.
The first two charges carry a sentence of 20 years to life in state prison, including 20 years without possibility of parole.
Adria Regn, 27, of Mount Holly, N.J., who is White’s girlfriend, was arrested on May 25 by the Mount Holly Police Department.
She faces the following first-degree charges:
human trafficking of a minor,
conspiracy to commit human trafficking of a minor, and
promoting prostitution of a minor.
She also faces a potential sentence of 20 years to life in state prison, including 20 years of parole ineligibility, if convicted of the human trafficking charge. The other first-degree charges each carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison.
Both White and Regn will likely face additional charges for allegedly posting nude photos of the 17-year-old victim on the internet.
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“This is a classic case of human trafficking where these defendants allegedly trapped an underage girl in dehumanizing circumstances in which they gave her drugs and forced her to have sex with multiple men per day,” said Attorney General Porrino. “It’s terrible for anyone to be exploited in this manner, but it’s especially heartbreaking when the victim is so young and vulnerable.”
“Our Human Trafficking Unit will continue to work with law enforcement partners throughout the state to rescue victims of human trafficking and ensure that those responsible for these deplorable crimes are aggressively prosecuted,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge anyone who sees a child or teenager in suspicious circumstances to call our confidential human trafficking hotline.”
“I would like to commend the staff of our Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, and our partners from the local and state law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation, for their dedicated police work in bringing this couple to justice,” said Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina. “We look forward to working closely with the Attorney General’s Office to support their prosecution of these individuals for their despicable acts of exploitation of this young girl.”
White and Regn are being detained at the Burlington County Jail.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone who suspects human trafficking to report it by calling the Division of Criminal Justice’s Human Trafficking Hotline 855-END-NJ-HT
The investigation began after the victim reported allegations that she was forced by White and his girlfriend, Regn, to work as a prostitute for a period of 10 days in October 2016 at various motels where they lived in Burlington County. Regn has two young children, and the victim, who knew White, went to the first motel believing she would be babysitting the children. Instead, White and Regn allegedly gave her drugs, including crystal methamphetamine and marijuana, and told her that she needed to work as an “escort” for them so that they could make money. They allegedly said that if she did not work for them, it would be her fault if Regn’s children ended up on the street. At one point, White allegedly told the victim he would find her and beat her if she did not continue to work for them as a prostitute.
White and Regn allegedly placed a number of ads on Backpage.com with photos of the victim in various states of undress, including completely nude, advertising the 17-year-old’s services as an escort. White and Regn, who would stay in the same room as the victim or an adjoining room, would allegedly arrange for clients to meet the victim for sex. They allegedly collected all of the money paid by the clients. The victim did not receive money. During a three- or four-day stay at a motel in Wrightstown, White and Regn allegedly made the victim have sex with at least five men each day. The victim ultimately fled while White and Regn were sleeping.
Deputy Attorney General Cassandra Montalto is assigned to prosecute the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Human Trafficking Unit. General Porrino commended all of the detectives and officers who worked on the investigation for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, New Jersey State Police, Pemberton Township Police Department, Division of Criminal Justice and Mount Holly Police Department. Detective Matthew Delgado is lead detective on the case for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.