A 30-year-old Atlantic City man was charged Tuesday with six counts of human trafficking by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

Donnie Bethea allegedly held women captive and forced them into prostitution through online ads after luring them into motels in the West Atlantic City section of Egg Harbor Township, acting Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

An investigation revealed Bethea had at least six victims in the past five months and lured them to motels, McClain said in a statement Tuesday.

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Bethea allegedly held the women captive, threatening them with bodily harm, while he advertised them on backpage.com, an online classifieds site, McClain said.

Bethea was initially discovered on Aug. 28 when Egg Harbor Township police responded to the Ramada Limited and found a 22-year-old woman held against her will.

Bethea was charged with aggravated sexual assault, promoting prostitution, aggravated assault, criminal restraint and possession of a weapon, and was held in county jail on $250,000 bail.

On Sep. 10 the additional charges of promoting prostitution and criminal restraint were added when it was discovered he previously held another woman against her will.

Bethea was additionally charged Monday with first-degree human trafficking and bail was raised to $1 million.

The investigation was a cooperative effort with Egg harbor Township police, FBI, Atlantic County Sheriff's Office, Prosecutor's Office, state Department of Human Services, and Human Services Police Department.

Contact Anjalee Khemlani:


Follow Anjalee Khemlani on Twitter @AnjKhem

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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