Local MS-13 Prostitution Rings Prompt Call For Harsher Penalties | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Local MS-13 Prostitution Rings Prompt Call For Harsher Penalties

Play associated audio

 

A local MS-13 gang member was sentenced to life in prison last month for running a prostitution ring involving a young girl -- one of three local members of the gang convicted of federal prostitution charges in recent months. But one national child advocacy group says the focus is centered too much on the main offender, and not the others involved in the transaction.

The 12-year-old victim was a runaway in search of food, shelter, and a safe haven. 

But what she got was a pimp, a member of the notoriously violent MS-13 gang who was in this country illegally. She met him in 2009, at a time when the gang was moving from drug trafficking to child sex trafficking. 

He forced her into selling her body -- for $40 per 15 minutes -- to men throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District.

"The saddest thing I saw was that the police knew men were lined up for every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, for a sex act with this child. Child! 12 year old," says Linda Smith, a former congresswoman and the founder of Shared Hope International.

Shared Hope is an organization that works to rescue children trapped in prostitution. Smith says there should be punishment not only for the MS-13 offender, but also for the men who fueled his underage operation.

"And these were common men and there was never a lack for market. There was always a buyer in that line, from what this says in this case," Smith says. "Every man in that line should have gone to jail. Why aren’t any buyers going to jail for life?"

Smith’s organization is due to release a report card on the state of human trafficking in the U.S. next month.

 

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 1, 2015

You can check out work by local women artists or see a comedy about how one woman’s midlife crisis affects those around her.

WAMU 88.5

Food Packaging & Pricing

Have you ever popped open a bag of potato chips only to be disappointed by the number of crisps in your bag? It's not just you. To avoid raising prices, companies often increase their "nonfunctional slack fill" or the difference between the volume of product and its container. We talk about how food packaging affects your recipe and wallet.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: The Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

A look at the growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

NPR

USA's 'Mr. Robot,' HBO's 'Ballers' Among Picks For Best Summer TV Series

As a flood of at least 120 new and returning series come to TV this summer, NPR's TV critic picks four shows most worth binge watching by the pool.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.