Boston, Feb. 14, 2017 – Two New Hampshire women have been arrested and arraigned in connection with trafficking women for commercial sex in Massachusetts communities through an online “escort” service, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
A massage parlor in Western Mass. was shut down in Dec. 2016 for allegedly trafficking women for sex.
Sonya Palic (a.k.a. “Chloe”), age 46, of Manchester, N.H., and Charlotte Napolitano (a.k.a “Red”), age 45, of Derry, N.H., were arrested on Feb. 8. Palic was arrested in Lexington by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Human Trafficking Division with assistance from the Lexington Police Department and Napolitano was arrested by authorities in Derry, N.H.
“We allege that these defendants ran an organized and sophisticated criminal enterprise in which they profited personally from trafficking women to sex buyers in our communities,” said AG Healey. “Demand for commercial sex drives this exploitative industry and we will continue our work to disrupt these operations and prosecute traffickers to protect women from this egregious crime.”
Palic was arraigned on Feb. 8 in Concord District Court on the charges of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude (one count), Deriving Support from Prostitution (one count), Money Laundering (one count) and Conspiracy to Traffic Persons for Sexual Servitude (one count). At the arraignment, Palic pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $100,000 cash, with the conditions that she have no contact with Napolitano, the sex buyers, or the victims and surrender her passport. Palic is due back in Concord District Court on March 20 for a probable cause hearing.
Massachusetts State Police obtained an arrest warrant for Napolitano on Feb. 8. After a rendition hearing in Derry District Court on Feb. 9, she was transferred to Massachusetts and arraigned on Monday in Concord District Court on the charges of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude (one count), Deriving Support from Prostitution (one count), Money Laundering (one count) and Conspiracy to Traffic Persons for Sexual Servitude (one count). At the arraignment, Napolitano pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $75,000 cash, with the conditions that she have no contact with Palic, the sex buyers, or the victims and surrender her passport. Napolitano is due back in Concord District Court on March 8 for a probable cause hearing.
The AG’s Office began an investigation in Sept. 2016 after the matter was referred by the Waltham Police Department. The AG’s investigation revealed that Palic and Napolitano ran an organized and sophisticated criminal enterprise from their home offices in New Hampshire.
They allegedly advertised and provided “escort” services in the Northeast, primarily in Massachusetts but also in New Hampshire and New York, through their website, chloescompanions.com. Women were allegedly trafficked in local cities and towns including Boston, Braintree, Lexington, Newton and Waltham. The AG’s Office obtained an order to have the website taken down.
Palic and Napolitano allegedly arranged for women to meet with men, either for “in-calls” or “out-calls” at hotels, to provide commercial sexual services in exchange for cash. Authorities allege that a large portion of the money from these encounters went to Palic and Napolitano, which they laundered into the business to perpetuate the daily operations of the criminal enterprise.
Authorities allege that about 12 to 15 women were trafficked through this site at a time. The website provided profiles of the women and a calendar for available dates and locations for each woman.
This investigation remains ongoing. These charges are allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being handled through the AG’s Human Trafficking Division, which focuses on policy, prevention and prosecution and includes a team of specialized prosecutors, victim advocates and Massachusetts State Police troopers who handle high impact, multi-jurisdictional human trafficking investigations and prosecutions across the state. Through the Human Trafficking Division, the AG’s Office has charged more than 30 individuals in connection with human trafficking since the law went into effect in 2012.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Nancy Rothstein of the AG’s Human Trafficking Division, with assistance from Victim Witness Advocate Rebecca Auld, Director in the AG’s Victim and Witness Services Division.
It was investigated by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Human Trafficking Division, Investigator Sallyann Nelligan, Director of the AG’s Financial Investigations Division and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex DA’s Office and from the Crime Scene Service Section, New Hampshire State Police and Lexington, Newton, Derry, N.H., and Manchester, N.H. Police Departments also assisted in this investigation, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.