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USA: Crips gang members indicted for child sex-slavery

Publish Date: 20 Apr 2011
By: Jim Kouri

More than three dozen south California gang members and the owners of two motels were charged on Tuesday with running a prostitution ring that enslaved young girls who had run away from home for work. Prosecutors called the gang operation "modern-day slavery."

The indictments are the results of Operation "Vice Grip," an 18-month investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Oceanside Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff's Office.
According to the indictments, members of at least three Oceanside Crips "cliques" conspired in a sex trafficking operation that began in 2005 and was directed by senior members, including those already incarcerated in state prisons.

The prostitution ring relied heavily on the recruitment of vulnerable female minors through Internet social media such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

According to law enforcement, gang members would manipulate the loyalty and increase productivity of the girls by giving the victims drugs and alcohol. Once the girls became dependent on their pimp, gang members sold, traded, or "gifted" the girls among one another.

Gang members also used low-cost motels to carry out its illegal activities. They rented rooms at the Oceanside Travelodge using other people's names.

The owners of the motel, Hitesh Patel and Vinod Patel, are believed to have housed gang members in rooms that were separated from legitimate customers to prevent any suspicion. The two charged higher room rates for such "dates" or "tricks," and warned gang members about any inquiries from law enforcement.

A total of 38 suspects were charged in the indictment, which was the result of an 18-month long federal investigation.

The defendants include a gang member as young as 18, and six women who served as associates of the operation. The charges include racketeering, the use of facilities of interstate commerce to promote prostitution, and drug trafficking.

"The sex trafficking of women and children is a particularly heinous crime and will not be tolerated in our communities," said Michael Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego.

"We must continue to work to dismantle and destroy sex trafficking rings here and abroad. Our goal is to not only prevent the spread of this modern day form of slavery, but to wipe it out in every form where it exists," he said in a press statement.

Copyright © Clarity Digital Group LLC

Stop Demand makes the following comments - to raise awareness, educate and encourage readers towards critical analysis.

"The sex trafficking of women and children is a particularly heinous crime...."  Stop Demand agrees.  But without prostitute-buying men there would be no sex trafficking.  As vile as sex traffickers might be, they are merely intermediaries.  They supply a product (girls or young women) to meet demand (prostitute-buying men).  

This article goes as far as referring to motel rooms, but stops there.  What of the countless husbands, fathers, brothers, businessmen or working-class men who are paying to use these motel rooms to rape, violate and sexually exploit these "enslaved girls"?  Why have they been given invisibility (and thereby protection) in this article?  And why, given an 18-month investigation, has ICE Homeland Security Investigations stopped short of prosecuting the countless men who have raped these "young, enslaved girls"? 

If there were no demand (by sex-buying men), there would be no supply.  Enslaving young girls for sex would no longer be financially viable for traffickers.  And sex trafficking would cease.