The month of September saw numerous sex trafficking arraignments and sentencings nationwide, as both local and federal law enforcement continue to expose child prostitution rings from shore to shore—a growing problem that reports state are inadequately addressed in most states.
On September 11th, Coy Klinger, 37, was indicted in Lower Paxton Township, Pa. with running a “suburban brothel.” Klinger is accused of pursuing women and underage girls through the internet and engaging them in prostitution at his own residence. He faces up to fifteen years in prison if found guilty.
On the same day, a father and son sex trafficking team plead guilty in Columbus, Ohio for prostituting women against their will. According to records from the U.S. District Court, Keith Arrick, 47, and his son Keith Arrick Jr., 21, rented hotel rooms in the Columbus area and used force, threats and drugs to coerce women and one minor into prostitution. The two men are awaiting sentencing.
A week later, in Grand Rapids, Mich., Eddie Jackson, 31, was sentenced on September 16th to 30 years in prison for three counts of child sex trafficking for forcing young girls to perform sex acts. Authorities reported that he recruited girls in 8th, 9th and 10th grade to work as prostitutes.
On the same day, in St. Charles, Mo., Tiffany Piper, 24, was sentenced to eight years in prison for selling high school girls for sex. According to court reports, she admitted to operating an “elaborate” sex business using online ads to invite men to pay for sex with teens.
Also on September 16th, Qualyn Mitchell, 31, plead guilty in Shreveport, La. to sex trafficking a minor and now awaits sentencing. Mitchell was arrested last November after law enforcement found him with a 16-year-old juvenile engaged in prostitution in an adjoining room. He will be sentenced on Jan. 23rd.
Numerous other cases were also reported throughout the month, as last Thursday, Carlos Stegall, 41, of Denver, Co. was sentenced to 24 years in prison for running a prostitution ring, including with a teenage girl who told her father that she was being forced to sell her body. A trafficking team in Atlanta, Ga. was then sentenced on Monday for trafficking a 17-year old-juvenile they advertised online. Stephen Thompson was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while his accomplice Tierra Waters was convicted of conspiracy to sex trafficking and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
According to The Global Slavery Index, it is estimated that between 57,000–63,000 sex slave victims currently reside in America. The report outlines that the nation’s wealth, combined with a demand for cheap labor, makes the U.S. a prime destination for human trafficking.
The Obama administration has concurred that sex trafficking is a malady in the nation.
“The United States is a source, transit and destination country for some of these men, women and children—both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals—who are subjected to the injustices of human trafficking, including forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude, and sex trafficking,” it outlines on WhiteHouse.gov.
As numerous arraignments and sentencings took place nationwide this month as a result of law enforcement intelligence, stings and busts, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) released their “2014 State Ratings of Human Trafficking Laws,” analyzing state-by-state performance in enacting a “basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.”
Although states such as Delaware, New Jersey and Washington received a perfect score in fighting prostitution, the report also noted that twelve states “failed to pass even minimal victim protection statutes.”
“While all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to combat sex and labor trafficking, most states lack adequate laws to support and assist those exploited by these horrific crimes,” NHTRC said.
“While we should take note of the progress [in our nation], tens of thousands of kids remain at risk,” also remarked U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) in light of the analysis. “We must continue to stand between evil and innocence, pushing forward to protect the most vulnerable and bring those buying or selling our children to justice.”