CAMDEN, N.J. -- A man who allegedly lured a Texas woman to New Jersey for a modeling job but instead forced her to dance at a Philadelphia strip club for several days is now facing human trafficking charges.
Bail was set at $500,000 for Michael Watts, 43, of Voorhees, who was arrested Friday in Camden, county prosecutors said. He also faces a criminal sexual contact charge. It was not known Monday if he has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The 20-year-old woman told authorities that Watts paid for her airfare to Philadelphia and picked her up at the airport on July 13. He then allegedly took her to his apartment and took away her money and cellphone, telling her she belonged to him and that there would be "consequences" if she tried to leave.
Later in the week, Watts allegedly took the woman to the strip club and introduced her to two other Voorhees residents - Staysha Hackmann, 25, and Michelle Rolon, 21.
Watts then allegedly told the woman she had to dance for money at the club. When she refused, the two women allegedly stripped her down and forced her to dance partially nude.
Watts later took the woman to a Voorhees hotel and told her she could not leave, authorities said. She was then made to dance at the club for two more days before being told that she had to stay with Hackmann and Rolon in a Voorhees apartment.
The woman fled the apartment on Thursday, with Hackmann and Rolon allegedly in pursuit by car and on foot. The woman soon ran into a bank and asked the employees there to call police, and she has since been reunited with her family.
Hackmann and Rolon are charged with criminal restraint. Bail for each was set at $25,000, and it wasn't known Monday if either woman has retained an attorney.
The charges come as Pennsylvania lawmakers consider a bill to put tighter regulations on strip clubs. They also may require strippers and others in the adult entertainment industry to register with the state, a proposal designed to combat sex trafficking.
Rep. Matt Baker, the main force behind the bill, said he wants to shine a light on the industry.
But such a registry would be a waste of money, said Angelina Spencer, chief executive of the Washington, D.C-based Association of Club Executives, an industry group. She said some places require permits but she isn't aware of any statewide registry for all club employees.
Spencer said a program of age verification that requires clubs to keep records for years after an employee leaves would be cheaper and more effective without invading privacy