NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A registered sex offender and a foster mother were charged with forcing eight young women into prostitution, according to court records.
Kareem Mitchell is a level 2 sex offender and is registered as such at the same home his wife, Sharice Mitchell, is registered at as a foster care parent.
Two of the eight victims that were forced into prostitution were girls in the foster care system left in Sharice's care.
"Sex traffickers target the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including - far too often - young New Yorkers in the child welfare system," said District Attorney Alvin Bragg. "As alleged, instead of providing a safe home, this husband and wife forced eight young women to engage in prostitution. We will continue to prioritize proactive investigations like these to dismantle sex trafficking operations and keep New Yorkers safe."
The couple have allegedly been prostituting girls and women since 2018 and would use social media to recruit victims.
Kareem Mitchell would then verbally and physically abuse the victims to force them into prostitution, officials say.
In one instance, one of the girls was posted in a prostitution advertisement in December of 2018, just one month before Sharice began serving as her foster parent, according to the indictment.
Officials say the couple would find men through Facebook and Instagram posts and arrange meet ups with the victims in cars or hotels throughout the city.
They were caught in a sex trafficking bust conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney's office after a nine-month investigation.
Mitchell has been a registered sex offender since 2008 when he was arrested for forcing a 17-year-old girl to engage in prostitution.
He served just under six years in prison for that sentence and was released on a five year probation.
Sharice lied on her application to become a foster parent claiming she did not live with her husband, even though he was registered at the same address.
The couple was arraigned in a Manhattan courthouse Wednesday afternoon and pled not guilty.
Both have been charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking and promoting prostitution. If convicted, the couple could serve anywhere between 75 to 100 years behind bars.
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