WOODBURY — A Minneapolis man has been charged with promoting prostitution of an individual.
Johnny Shamar Williams, 35, is being held in the Washington County Jail awaiting further proceedings.
According to the criminal complaint, the charge relates to an undercover operation conducted by the East Metro Human Trafficking Task Force, a unit established in 2015 by the Washington County Attorney's Office with the goal of pursuing and prosecuting labor and sex trafficking.
On Aug. 16, members of the task force became aware of an advertisement for commercial sex on an escort website that included a phone number. A detective then found the phone number on a woman's Facebook page, which featured one of the same photos from the advertisement.
In another photo on the same Facebook page, the woman is pictured with a tattoo on her chest reading "Jon Jon" with an image of a key above it. According to those familiar with sex trafficking, this type of tattoo is common in the sex industry as "branding," or marking a person with the name or initials of their trafficker.
Further examination of the Facebook page revealed the woman was married to a "Jon Jon Williams," later identified as Johnny Shamar Williams.
One picture on Williams' Facebook page was the same photo as the one in the advertisement, along with several photos and videos of him counting and displaying large amounts of cash.
The next day, the same detective began texting the phone number listed on the advertisement while using an undercover identity. He was told that an hour of "full service," or full sex, would cost him $200.
The detective gave the person the address of a Woodbury apartment and asked to meet there. The woman in the advertisement was later seen getting out of a vehicle known to law enforcement as a vehicle linked to both her and Williams. Several minutes later, Williams also exited the car and was arrested. Detectives seized his cell phone and found four boxes of condoms in the vehicle.
After speaking with law enforcement, the woman admitted she had arrived at the apartment to engage in commercial sex and that part of the money she earned would have gone to Williams. Her cell phone was also seized. She was provided with information on victim resources and released.