South Florida man accused of forcing women into sex trade

Suspect faces up to life in prison if convicted

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - A South Florida man is facing multiple counts of human trafficking after recruiting and exploiting young women into the sex trade, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced.

PBSO deputies arrested Robert Miner, 27, of Miami Beach on Sunday. Miner appeared before a judge Tuesday and was ordered to be held without bond.

In addition, Miner is not allowed contact with the victims and witnesses; Miner is also prohibited from using the web or accessing social media sites. 

The arrest comes after an investigation between the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force, the Broward Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the FBI, according to Bondi.
 
“The defendant is charged with preying on women and, in some cases, using violence to force them into sex trafficking; all while depositing large amounts of cash into his bank account,” Bondi said in a news release.

According to the investigation, Miner, 27, recruited and exploited young women since January 2015 through sex trafficking for personal profit. 

Miner is accused of finding victims through online advertisements for women to work as dancers or companions, Bondi explained. Once the women responded to the ads, Bondi said Miner threatened or physically harmed them into performing sex acts for money.

“The facts of this case are appalling -- that anyone is charged with forcing another human being into the sex trade,” Bondi added in the release.

The arrest report says once Miner lured the women to Palm Beach or Broward County he would set them up in hotels along I-95. A victim from West Palm Beach who had applied on one of the websites the FBI said Miner picked her up and took her to several hotels in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to perform sex acts with different men over a period of 30 days. 

Another victim said she was held a knife-point and raped by Miner. Others said he would sit in his car and watch their hotel rooms in case they tried to leave. He would allegedly tell them he would send people to their rooms to physically hurt them. The victims said to law enforcement that he made the same threats to one of his girls who was later murdered.

"It's absolutely horrifying," said Tanya Meade, the President of the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches. "They look like they are "free" but the psychological chains are much more debilitating than physical chains could ever be." 

The arrest report says Miner forced women to make $800 to $1,000 per day and kept all the money. He allegedly made them use words like 'donations' or 'roses' to cover up the prostitution ring. The arrest report says the cars he used were on surveillance video at the hotels and his IP address was traced to posts on Backpage.com, a website known for advertising prostitution. 

The arrest report says Miner had as many as six women working for him at a time. 

Once, Miner allegedly arranged for a victim to fly to and work in Las Vegas.

Records show the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Miner in 2014 after a sting operation targeting prostitution operations. Miner was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of transporting women for prostitution. 
 
Miner faces a total of 20 charges for this arrest, ranging from human trafficking and money laundering to armed sexual battery and renting a room for prostitution. 

If convicted, Miner faces up to life in prison. 

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