What to Know
- A South Los Angeles pimp and prostitute known as "Pretty Hoe" on social media was sentenced Thursday to 15 years behind bars.
- Her attorney wrote that Williams is "intellectually disabled" and was herself a victim of human trafficking.
- The defendant wrote to the judge, "I understand that now I have to pay the consequences."
A South Los Angeles pimp and prostitute known as "Pretty Hoe" on social media was sentenced Thursday to 15 years behind bars for using the internet to try to enlist underage girls to work for her on the streets.
Melanie Williams was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 180 months in prison for her plea to a single count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
U.S. District Judge George Wu also sentenced her to 10 years of supervised release following the prison term and ordered her to pay restitution of $15,000 to the victims.
Federal prosecutors wrote in court papers that the 23-year-old Williams is "a prolific pimp who recruits her victims via her celebrity status on social media and then forces her victims to engage in commercial sex acts while the defendant retains the profits."
Her attorney wrote that Williams is "intellectually disabled" and was herself a victim of human trafficking.
Williams declined to make a statement to the court, but wrote to the judge that she acknowledges her crimes, "and I understand that now I have to pay the consequences."
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She thanked the government for "removing me from that awful lifestyle" and wrote that she was "profoundly sorry for the pain and trauma" suffered by the victims in the case.
Williams abused a woman she had recruited through social media to work as a prostitute.
In one incident detailed in court documents, Williams first ordered the victim to strip, then threw bleach on her and beat the woman with her hands and a broomstick.
The defendant also forced the victim to get "Melanie" tattooed on her face, confiscated her belongings and identity documents, and continually threatened to kill the victim if she tried to leave.
Williams further posted social media videos of her beating and using firearms to threaten young women.
In her plea agreement, Williams admitted using the internet to recruit two underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts. Williams kept the proceeds from the minors' work on the streets.
Williams -- who has a large social media presence on Snapchat and Instagram -- was sentenced two years ago to three months in jail for prostitution, according to court documents.
She also referred to herself on social media as "the most hated hoe in LA."