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

Book Review: 'Once In The West'

Tess Taylor reviews Christian Wiman's new collection of poems, "Once in the West."
NPR

'How To Cook Everything Fast'? Bittman Says Skip The Prep

Rachel Martin talks to food writer Mark Bittman about his new cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Fast," which thumbs its nose at the French tradition of having ingredients prepped before you cook.
WAMU 88.5

New D.C. Bill Would Require Uber To Provide Liability Insurance Coverage

D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh is proposing legislation to end the regulatory vacuum critics say has placed Uber users at risk.
NPR

EBay Spins Off PayPal Into Fast-Changing World Of Mobile Payments

Commerce and payments are splitting up. Ebay is breaking away from PayPal and its payments operation will turn into a separate, publicly traded company.

Leave a Comment

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