2 face human trafficking charges in South Florida

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two South Florida residents are accused of human trafficking for allegedly forcing a 35-year-old mother into prostitution, authorities said.

Lodier Adam Elveus Jr., 20, and Shanteria Denise Bernadet Ferguson, 26, both of West Palm Beach, were arrested Friday, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Ferguson and Elveus are charged with keeping a house of ill-fame for prostitution, kidnapping and false imprisonment, living off the earnings of prostitution, and coercing commercial sexual activity for human trafficking, the Sun-Sentinel reported. They are being held without bail in the Palm Beach County Jail, according to online jail records.

According to an arrest report, the victim got into a domestic argument with her boyfriend and left her house, WPEC reported. According to police, the victim was befriended by Ferguson, who offered to protect her and help with obtaining custody of her children, the television station reported.

The victim told police she woke up one day and discovered Elveus standing over her bed with a gun, saying “(If) you want to lay in this bed you need to make some money,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.

According to the arrest report, Ferguson took photographs of the victim and posted more than 300 advertisements for prostitution on an escort website, the newspaper reported. Police said Ferguson and Elveus' phone records showed 313 advertisements were posted, WPEC reported.

West Palm Beach police, alerted by a neighbor, visited Ferguson’s house to do a welfare check, the television station reported. The victim told police she was all right, but later said she lied because Ferguson and Elveus had threatened harm, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The victim climbed out of a window on Thursday and went to a neighbor’s house, where she called for help, the newspaper reported. Surveillance cameras showed Ferguson chasing the woman, according to WPEC.