Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicago Pimp Convicted of Trafficking Girls as Young as 12

Today, a 32-year-old man was convicted of sex trafficking women and girls in Chicago. Some of the girls he sold were as young as 12.

This is a horrible story. But it’s really, really good news that this “pimp” has been convicted of sex trafficking here in Chicago. It's good news because trafficking happens all the time here, and this is a sign that law enforcement wants to address the problem.

It’s also good news that the public will see violence in the sex trade for what it is—the exploitation of women and girls for profit, here in Chicago.  

Kudos to the prosecutors for holding the violent criminal responsible, and thanks to Natasha Korecki for her reporting on this case for the Chicago Sun-Times. From her recent story about the trial, Korecki describes how the case reveals “A bizarre world that … began with a promise of love and a future but devolved quickly to forced sex, verbal berating and physical beatings.”

It also reveals how trafficking—the use of force to keep someone in the sex trade—happens here in our city. Our End Demand Illinois campaign advocates for resources for survivors like these, and harsher penalties for pimps, johns and traffickers.

Until last year, the victims in this case could have been treated as criminals. Thanks to the Illinois Safe Children Act, minors in our state can no longer be prosecuted for prostitution. And this is as it should be, as we hear about the trauma these girls have survived.

The testimony of a young woman in the case says it all. The defense asked why she stayed with the pimp who was abusing her: 

“He had all my information. He had my birth certificate … He knew everything about me.” The 19-year-old yelled in court. “I was only a child. I was only a child! Where else was I supposed to go?”

To learn more about how you can help end sex trafficking here at home, visit www.enddemandillinois.org