Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Children Recruited to Be Sex Slaves

From WTOP:

By Eric Johnson

August 11, 2008

WASHINGTON - History teachers tell students that slavery ended in the U.S. in 1865, but sources tell WTOP that a "hidden epidemic" of child sex-slavery persists in this area and nationwide.

"There are a whole host of sex traffickers who specifically prey on children," says Bradley Myles, director of the Polaris Project, a non-governmental organization that fights human trafficking.

"They seek out children who may have any sort of vulnerability -- vulnerability from sexual abuse as a child, vulnerability from homelessness, vulnerability from all different hosts of issues."

Myles says recruiters often try to gain the target's trust, setting themselves up as friends or boyfriends. Sometimes, children who have already been ensnared by the traffickers are forced to convince the targeted youth that they can trust their pimp. But Jeff Taylor, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, says other times, kids are simply kidnapped.

"We have a case involving defendant Jovon Johnson, who was just sentenced in June of this year, in Superior Court, to 45 1/2 years in prison for sexual assault and sex-trafficking-type offenses," Taylor says.

"This fellow would drive around the District, see teenage girls on the street, entice them into his car, force them to disrobe and perform sex acts, hold them captive and then force them into acts of prostitution."

Myles notes that the pimps have learned to go after children in or around places that are hard for kids to avoid.

Read the full article

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