Prostitution Ring Recruited Women At School, On Social Media | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Prostitution Ring Recruited Women At School, On Social Media

Play associated audio
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ykjc9/3435027358/

The leader of a Fairfax County gang accused of running a prostitution ring has been indicted by a grand jury. A federal grand jury has indicted 26-year-old Justin Strom of Lorton, also known as "J-Dirt", who is accused of running a sex trafficking operation.

Strom recruited girls at school, in the mall or on the Metro, according to Ronald Hosko, the FBI agent who took the lead on the case.

"The recruitment of several of these victims, sadly, was surprisingly easy," Hosko said. "It was a compliment on the victim's appearance. 'You're pretty.' And that opened the door to a bigger conversation and an invitation to make some money."

Unlike much of the gang activity in Northern Virginia, which is tied to gangs from El Salvador, Strom was the head of a gang known as the Underground Gangster Crips. Although Strom and other gang members were African-American, many of the victims in the case are white and were recruited from Hispanic neighborhoods. 

"They had one girl who has a 3.9 GPA," Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said after the indictment. "Her parents are what most people would call very well-to-do in a good high school in Fairfax, recruited though a partner of the gang, in the school."

Records from the Fairfax County school system show that Strom and two other suspects in the prostitution ring attended Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield. The case has shocked the community, according to Abe Jeffers, the school's principal.

"This isn't something you would expect to be happening anywhere, that in this day and age people would be imprisoning high school students and forcing them to do things against their will," Jeffers said. 

After the gang members made personal contact with the girls, court records show, they would use social media to draw them into a life of prostitution. 

"The challenge of social media sites is that it opens the door and the window right into people's houses, and so it makes it a challenge for parents to police it and to be aware of it because it's coming right into your house through the fiber or through the cable," Hosko said.

Strom faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

NPR

From Sizzling Fajitas, To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell

Joel Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding. His new book is called The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.
NPR

A Tight Race Emerges To Fill Seat Left By Iowa's Sen. Harkin

Longtime Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring. Host Robert Siegel profiles the close midterm race to replace him and one voting group that could sway the election: women voters.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

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