Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Watsonville man who is accused of trafficking a young Gilroy woman for sex, and assaulting her on multiple occasions over the last five years, according to authorities.
The suspect, Andre William Furtado, 32, had severely beaten the woman countless times, some times to the point the victim required hospitalization, over the course of their relationship, according to press release from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
The many years of Furtado’s exploitation of the woman “came to a head” when the suspect threatened to physically harm the victim and her father, authorities said. The threats were reported to the sheriff’s office, which conducted a human trafficking investigation and gathered enough evidence to arrest Furtado.
Sheriff’s detectives arrested Furtado in Gilroy on Aug. 1. He is accused of numerous felonies, including human trafficking, pimping, pandering and kidnapping, according to the sheriff’s office. Furtado is currently a parolee and a registered sex offender.
In 2014, the victim began a dating relationship with Furtado, who convinced the woman to turn to prostitution as a source of income, according to authorities. Furtado showed the woman how to post advertisements soliciting prostitution online, educated her “about the life of prostitution” and instructed her on the prices she should for each sex act she performed for each customer.
The victim began engaging in acts of prostitution under Furtado’s guidance and direction, authorities said. Within a month of working for Furtado, the suspect began to physically abuse her. Furtado would instruct the woman to engage in acts of prostitution. He became upset with her when he began to think she was enjoying these acts of prostitution.
Furtado abused the woman again as the sheriff’s office was preparing to rescue the woman, according to authorities. The victim suffered scratches to her chest, neck, leg and foot, as well as bruising to her chest, foot and back due to Furtado’s physical abuse.
In sheriff’s custody, the woman showed her injuries to investigators, who documented them by taking digital photographs, according to authorities. Furthermore, the victim corroborated her accusations by providing detectives with dozens of photographs of her injuries throughout their relationship.
The victim also provided investigators with numerous text and Instagram messages that Furtado had sent to her, depicting the threats of abuse and type of injuries he intended to inflict on her, authorities said. In a live phone call with the victim, detectives reported they witnessed Furtado admitting to physically abusing the victim in the past, apologizing to the woman for abusing her, and negotiating with the victim about her prostitution schedule if she came back to him.
Anyone with information about this case can call the Sheriff’s Office at (408) 808-4500, or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.