Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Somalis in Twin Cities Shaken by Sex-Trafficking Charges

From The New York Times on 23 November:

By Erik Eckholm

When the girl now identified as Jane Doe 2 came under their control in 2006 at age 12, the Somali Outlaws and the Somali Mafia gangs set a firm rule: Their members could have sex with her for nothing; others had to pay with money or drugs.

Repeatedly over the next three years, in apartments, motel rooms and shopping center bathrooms in Minnesota and Tennessee, the girl performed sexual acts for gang members and paying customers in succession, according to a federal indictment that charged 29 Somalis and Somali-Americans with drawing young girls into prostitution over the last decade, using abuse and threats to keep them in line, and other crimes. The suspects, now aged 19 to 38, sported nicknames like Hollywood, Cash Money and Forehead, prosecutors said.

The allegations of organized trafficking, unsealed this month, were a deep shock for tens of thousands of Somalis in the Minneapolis area, who fled civil war and famine to build new lives in the United States and now wonder how some of their youths could have strayed so far. Last week, in quiet murmurings over tea and in an emergency public meeting, parents and elders expressed bewilderment and sometimes outrage- anger with the authorities for not acting sooner to stop the criminals, and with themselves for not saving their youth.

For the rest of the article visit The New York Times.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Thank you for sharing this article. I think we don't often see or hear enough about what is going on in places we wouldn't expect. As has been said by others, we assume this sort of activity only occurs in poor, foreign lands. The book "Sold" by Patricia McCormick deals with sex trafficking but from a first-person account. Although this book takes place in Nepal/India, I think it's very important we hear from the victims themselves. It's one thing to read a news story and put it aside, but quite another to read about the victim's perspective and what their life is like.