MIAMI, FLORIDA — On Thursday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced the arrest of Monriko Clements, a 31-year-old Silver Spring, Maryland rapper, on human trafficking charges.
At a news conference, Rundle said that Clements fled the state to evade law enforcement after a joint task force intervened to rescue his victim. Officers from the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Miami-Dade’s human trafficking task force worked together on the investigation.
FORCED INTO PROSTITUTION
After his arrest by police in Fulton, Maryland, Clements was extradited to South Florida in what Rundle's office described as a “human trafficking extradition and rescue.” Prosecutors said Clements met the 23-year-old victim through the dating app Tinder and brought her to the Miami area, where he forced her into prostitution.
Clements – a rapper known as “King Swuice” – arranged a date in April to meet the victim at a Baltimore strip club where he was performing, according to the arrest warrant.
Rundle said Clements regularly gave the woman drugs, including MDMA and cocaine, which she said is a common tactic that traffickers use to keep victims compliant. But three weeks into their relationship, the victim lost her job at Chipotle and was “extremely worried about how she was going to provide for herself and her children,” the warrant states.
Prosecutors allege Clements told the victim he knew a way to make “fast money.” According to the charges filed, Clements set up a page on an escort website so that the woman could sell her body in South Florida. Prostitution dates were set at a rate of $120 for 15 minutes, $200 for 20 minutes, and $300 for an hour.
But the victim didn’t receive any of the money. Instead, Clements allegedly kept more than $20,000 in proceeds. In addition, he forced her to tattoo “KSwuice” above her left breast – a sign of possession, indicating that she belonged to him, the warrant states.
A PLAN TO ESCAPE
The victim told prosecutors that she told Clements that she was “tired and weary” of having so many prostitution dates. So, Clements proposed that she work for him as a madam beginning in January, where she would have to “recruit girls, run the website, show the girls what to do, and give the money” to him, according to the warrant.
Rundle said the victim, in desperation, jumped out of a moving vehicle on the Dolphin Expressway on November 14 to escape Clements, who had been beating her. However, before she planned her escape, the woman called her mother and explained that she was being abused and exploited. Her mother called Maryland State Police, who contacted the Florida City Police.
When police showed up at the hotel where the victim was staying, she told officers that the two were arguing and that it was her fault. Officers found an open warrant for Clements, but they could not arrest him because it was a non-extraditable offense, the warrant states.
When Clements and the victim left the hotel, they headed to Miami Beach when Clements “threatened to kill her and boasted that her family would not be able to find her,” according to prosecutors. But the woman took advantage of slow traffic on the Dolphin Expressway and decided to jump out of the small SUV and yell for help.
Clements stopped and tried to drag the victim back into the car when a passerby stopped to help, causing Clements to drive away, prosecutors said. After Clements returned to Maryland, Florida law enforcement used testimony from the victim to locate him in Maryland, where he was arrested and extradited to Florida.
Clements faces charges of human trafficking, with a maximum sentence of 30 years, and deriving proceeds from prostitution, with a maximum sentence of 15 years.
HOW TO GET HELP
Both children and adults can be victims of human trafficking. To report known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment; and known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).
To get help for victims and survivors of human trafficking or to connect with local services, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or Text HELP at 233733 (BEFREE).