Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli announced the arrests of an Elizabeth and Parlin men accused of recruiting and employing two juvenile females to work as prostitutes in an on-going illicit prostitution operation that conducted business in and around North Jersey.
Authorities said, in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 12, a Fort Lee police officer observed a suspicious vehicle parked in the vicinity of a local motel that was occupied by a male driver. As the officer drove near the vehicle, the driver, later identified as 32-year-old Yadir Araujo, of Elizabeth, attempted to avoid being seen by slumping down below view of the windshield. As the officer approached the vehicle and began to speak with Araujo, he observed multiple condoms protruding from the vehicle’s ash tray along with a woman’s purse on the front passenger’s side floor board. In response to questions about the purse and the reason he was in the area, Araujo directed the officer to a room in the motel where a girl was “working”.
Concerned for the welfare of the female, additional Fort Lee police officers went to the motel room where they encountered an adult male occupant, identified as Gayan Desilva, 34, of Englewood, along with a 17-year-old female, whose identity is being withheld due to the fact that she is a juvenile and a victim.
The investigation revealed that Desilva paid Araujo a specified amount of cash in exchange for having sex with the underage female.
Fort Lee police officers arrested Araujo and Desilva and brought the juvenile female back to Fort Lee Police Headquarters for further investigation and to reunite her with her guardian(s).
The subsequent investigation revealed that the 17-year-old female was solicited and recruited by Araujo and another adult male, who was later identified as 32-year-old John Gaudin, of Parlin. to work as an “escort”. Once recruited, she performed sexual acts in exchange for money.
The investigation further revealed tha her 17-year-old sibling was similarly solicited, recruited and worked in the operation.
The second seventeen 17-year-old female was later located and transported to Fort Lee Police Headquarters accompanied by her guardian(s), where it was confirmed that she too was recruited to work as an escort like her sibling for Araujo and Desilva in their illicit prostitution operation and were being paid by them for their participation.
The investigation revealed that these adult male actors made “appointments” for the juvenile females with various “clients” who contacted them through online advertisements.
Araujo and Desilva would then drive the juvenile females to the appointments at various locations, including motels, where the clients paid money to engage in sexual activity with the juvenile females.
Later they would share the proceeds from this illicit and criminal arrangement with the juveniles.
Following execution of court-authorized search warrants on Araujo's vehicle, an imitation Glock pellet handgun and a substantial amount of cash were recovered and seized.
A search warrant on Gaudin's residence resulted in the seizure of three firearms, several cellular telephones, computers and other items derivative of an illegal credit card fraud operation.
Araujo and Desilva were each charged with two counts of human trafficking, two counts of promoting child prostitution and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
The investigation is continuing and investigators are attempting to identify any other victims or employees of this illegal prostitution operation.