Federal authorities believe they are closer to finding missing Pennsylvania woman and and possible sex trafficking victim Corinna Slusser after arresting a man they allege advertised her for sex online, PEOPLE confirms.
On Wednesday, Ishi Woney, 23, of New York City, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking by means of force, threats, fraud and coercion, as well as use of an interstate facility to promote, manage, and carry on prostitution. He was also charged with violating the Mann Act, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s office announced in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.
Woney is accused of engaging in sex trafficking with at least one female alleged victim, who is identified in court documents only as “Victim 1,” in the Bronx and other locations for money, the press release states.
While “Victim 1 is not Slusser, who would now be 20, the release alleges Woney posted online sex advertisements featuring Slusser and “Victim 1.” Slusser was last seen in Queens, New York, on Sept. 20, 2017.
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Authorities allege Woney transported “Victim 1” to multiple states, including New York, to engage in prostitution.
Woney was arrested in New Jersey and, if convicted, faces a sentence of 5 years to life in prison.
It was not immediately clear if he has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Slusser was reported missing by her family, weeks after seeking an order of protection against a 32-year-old old who had allegedly assaulted her that summer, the New York Daily News reports.
While the exact details of where Slusser was living in Pennsylvania and how and when she came to N.Y.C. remain unclear, friends previously told PEOPLE she moved from Pennsylvania in late summer 2017 after living with a female friend.
The last picture Slusser, an avid social media user, shared on Instagram was posted two days before she was last seen. Its location tag was in the Bronx, and on the day of her disappearance, Slusser was seen leaving a hotel in the Bronx.
From the beginning, New York police have feared her to be a victim of sex trafficking.
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On Oct. 6, 2017, Slusser turned 19 but did not contact friends or family, longtime friend Kayleigh LeVan says.
In the weeks leading up to her disappearance, Slusser shared pictures of her life in New York and invited friends to visit her apartment, which she said had a doorman, LeVan says.
“She was so excited about New York,” LeVan says. “She was excited about having her own place.”
Authorities describe Slusser as a white female with blonde hair, blue eyes, weighing 140 lbs. and approximately 5-feet-6-inches tall, with a large black flower-type tattoo in the middle of her chest.
At the time of her disappearance, Slusser’s mother shared her concern on Facebook.
“My daughter was a great student, a cheerleader. She had many friends … I need her home and I cant bare anymore days like this,” Sabina Tuorto wrote. “I fear the worst but I pray for the best and her to return home.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, for Spanish, at 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
Tips can also be submitted online or by texting them 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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