Victimology is “the study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system.” (Quoting Wikipedia entry for Victimology) The criminal case against Fort Lauderdale sex trafficker Van Lawson Williams provides several real world examples of how six teenage girls were forced or coerced into becoming sex crime victims.
A Fort Lauderdale jury convicted Williams of trafficking teenage girls, following his October trial. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley recently sentenced Williams to life. At sentencing, Judge Hurley stated that the jury clearly believed the victims’ testimony and that Williams had “committed blatant perjury” through his testimony denying all charges and claiming that all of the teenage victims had merely baby-sat for his daughter.
Six victims testified at trial. The victims ranged in age between 12 and 16 and were runaways when they met Williams. They testified that Williams befriended them, offered to have them stay in his home, made them believe that he loved them, and then betrayed their trust by forcing or coercing them into prostitution. Evidence was offered at trial that Williams had sex with several of his victims and provided several teenage victims with crack cocaine or marijuana.
The FBI notes that sex traffickers engaged in prostituting teens frequently target vulnerable young girls and woman, befriend them with flattering statements about their appearance, ply them with drugs and alcohol to sedate them and force them into prostitution through physical force and emotional duress.
State criminal charges against Williams were dropped. However, the U.S. subsequently filed a criminal complaint against Williams on four counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of attempted sex trafficking of minors (18 U.S.C. Section 1591(a)). Williams was convicted of these charges.
The FBI and Fort Lauderdale Police Department investigated this case which was prosecuted by federal prosecutors from the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The FBI, Department of Justice, and many state prosecutors provide various victim services, including counseling.
Our Victim Rights Attorneys protect the rights of sex crime victims by aggressively pursuing civil lawsuits against the perpetrators and those who illegally support these crimes. Our attorneys and experienced staff are knowledgeable about victimology, which allows us to aggressively protect our clients rights and to help our clients access victim services and other helpful resources. Click below to learn more about how we can help.