9 Investigates: Man who says he was involved in sex trade speaks out

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A man is speaking out about how he said he sold women for sex. Some people called him “Mr. Madam.”

John Pace is talking about how he ran a prostitution ring to help women by shedding light on the sex industry.

He is the featured speaker at an anti-sex trafficking event, but first sat down with Eyewitness News Natalie Pasquarella to talk about how he lured women in and how he’s working to save others.

"I couldn't sell another woman,” Pace said.

Pace wants to expose the sex trade.

"In order to deconstruct sex trafficking, we have to understand how it was constructed,” Pace said.

After his Ohio business collapsed in 2006, Pace said he turned to the sex trade to pay the bills, finding escorts on sites like Backpage and Craiglist.

"I was able to identify young ladies who were very attractive, but needed a makeover,” Pace said.

He even brought in an etiquette coach.

He said he never used physical force, and was able to convince the women he cared.

"I was able to arrest their mind was able to fill that void that their families had left, or in some cases created,” Pace said. "I'd had escorts who had consistently $7,000 and $8,000 weeks working eight-hour days."

Pace had close calls with police, but he never served time.

He decided to get out of the sex business when he realized the damage he was doing.

"I had taken a mother and a woman and turned her into a prostitute, and that was just something … I couldn't … I couldn't live with that,” he said, while breaking down crying.

Channel 9 has reported on the growing issue of sex trafficking for years.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said there are at least five active investigations into human trafficking in Charlotte.

There have been three convictions in the past year.

Pace has now written two books and is teaming up with the Charlotte nonprofit Compassion to Act.

"Let's come up with solutions and eradicate this,” Pace said.

He and survivor Timon Dawson will discuss solutions when they speak together at a conference Friday.

"We all can be redeemed and through that redemption, we can love,” Dawson said.
As for what people will say about Pace's confessions, "Judge me if you will, but listen to what I have to say. I'm willing to take the anger, I'm willing to take the abuse if you listen to what I have to say,” Pace said.
Pace said one way to stop the sale of women for sex is to make the men who solicit prostitutes pay a fine that equals the amount it takes to rehab a sex-trade victim.
Pace and Dawson will speak Friday at a human-trafficking conference at the Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord.
Click here for more information on the event. Click here to see John Pace's website.

Past coverage:

9 Investigates: Human trafficking happening in Charlotte

Bill would require convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders

9 Investigates: Underage girls being sold for sex in Charlotte

9 Investigation: Teenager shares story of being trafficked for money

Group to raise human-trafficking awareness at ACC championship game