SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield man was sentenced Thursday for sex trafficking women through a prostitution business.
According to the Office of United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, 49-year-old William Coleman was sentenced to 186 months (15 and a half years) in prison and five years of supervised release.
In February 2020, Coleman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and nine counts of sex trafficking. Coleman has been in custody since his arrest on December 23, 2018.
“This sentence is a stern reminder of the consequences facing those involved in the unconscionable practice of sex trafficking. My office, in tandem with our law enforcement partners, remains steadfast in its resolve to eradicate illegal sex trafficking operations that prey on vulnerable victims,” Lelling said.
From 2016 to 2018, Coleman ran a prostitution business in the Springfield area, the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area, and other parts of Connecticut.
According to Lelling, Coleman used violence and the drug addictions of eight women to coerce them into engaging in commercial sex acts with paying customers. The victims were typically required to turn over all of their earnings to Coleman, and their daily lives were tightly controlled by him.
Most of the women were not allowed to keep any of the money they earned, and they were only to obtain their drugs, in most cases, heroin, from Coleman. Victims who did not engage in prostitution for Coleman, or who did not follow his rules, were subjected to physical assaults, sexual violence, and the withholding of drugs. Coleman used websites to post prostitution advertisements for the victims working for him.