FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A man found guilty last year of prostituting minors has been sentenced to life in prison.
Last October a jury convicted 49-year old Van Lawson Williams, of Ft. Lauderdale, on four counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of attempted sex trafficking of minors.
At his trial, six victims, all runaways at the time they met Williams, testified that they worked or were recruited to work as prostitutes at Williams’ residence.
According to the trial evidence, Williams sought out the girls and invited them to stay with him at his Fort Lauderdale residence, promising them food and shelter. He would then convince them to have sex for money because they couldn’t stay with him for free but rather had to earn money to pay the bills.
On most occasions, the girls were required to give Williams the money they collected. Several of the victims testified that Williams provided them with illegal narcotics, including marijuana and crack cocaine, and that he engaged in or attempted to engage in sexual activity with them.
At Williams’ sentencing hearing, one of the victims read a letter she had written describing the shame she still feels every day when she looks in the mirror. Another victim, only 12 when she was prostituted by Williams, she described the damage that she had suffered as a result of Williams’ actions, and said her dream was to one day meet and marry a sweet man.