In Chicago, Datqunn Sawyer, 32, was found guilty of pimping, beating and branding six girls, ages 12 to 17. Sawyer promised girls love, but then beat them and forced them to have sex with men for money, according to authorities. Some girls worked out of four-star hotel rooms, others would walk the stroll, and have sex with random strangers along the gritty end of Cicero Avenue.
Sawyer will spend at least 15 years in jail.
In New York, The “King of All Pimps” Jason Itzler was back in court after getting arrested for pimping, laundering money and selling cocaine, according to cops. Itzler, once the owner of the New York Confidential escort service, served two years in Rikers for pimping on the Web. Low-end girls cost $1,000, add the cocaine, according to investigators, and the cost rose to $10,000. At one time Itzler claimed that one of Tiger Woods’ hookups used to work for him.
In Houston, Barry Lernard Davis, aka “Sir Lewis,” 34, was found guilty of pimping a minor and enticing an adult to engage in criminal sexual activity.
And in Milwaukee, “actor” Derrick (Pimp Snooky) Avery, 45, pled guilty to conspiracy and sex trafficking a minor. This pimp appeared in the documentary, “Pimps Up, Hos Down,” considers himself an actor, and he now faces a maximum of life in prison.
The list of high-profile pimp arrests is seemingly endless, so let’s get to the root of the issue, what can you do to protect females in your community?
According to pimps and law enforcement officials, here are the five ways pimps recruit their prey; read, and take heed.
1. Pimps recruit out in the open.
Pimps do not hide in the crevices of bus depots to find their next target, they are out in the open.
In 2009, DePaul College of Law’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center studied five ex-pimps in the Chicago area. Brenda Myers-Powell, a prostitution survivor, interviewed each pimp with a 91-question survey instrument. DePaul researchers found, “Participants recruited everywhere and anywhere, at skating rinks, laundromats, basketball games and other events that attracted lots of girls. Others participating in more organized businesses ran ads and one said his business trafficked from abroad.”
2. Pimps promise the glamorous lifestyle.
Houston pimp Sir Lewis Davis promised his prey the comforts of home, (food, shelter, love) and high-end material gifts. Once he had a girl under his spell, according to court testimony, Davis used physical and sexual abuse to keep them under his control. He took suggestive photos of the girls and placed them online to solicit customers.
3. Pimps use other women to recruit girls.
Alan Townsend of Florida met a 14-year-old Ohio girl on Urbanchat.com, and convinced her to run away from home. Authorities say Townsend used his most seasoned prostitute 27-year-old Courtney Shine, to befriend the young girl and tell her that a modeling career was in her future.
On the road, the pimp told the young girl that she would become a prostitute, not a model, and the girl managed to escape and call police.
Townsend and Shine have since pled guilty to federal child sex-trafficking charges.
4. Pimps use fancy job titles.
Pimps are the ultimate fabulists and are quite adept at lying about what they do for a living. Pimps use glamorous job titles such as photographer, modeling agent, movie producer or filmmaker to sell the fantasy, especially to lure mature women with broken dreams.
5. Pimps use Facebook (and other social media outlets).
With pressure from the feds, Craigslist has become strict on its personal ads, but other social media sites including MyRedbook.com, Eros.com, and in some cases, even Facebook, are becoming the latest hot spots for paid hookups.
Human trafficking expert T. Mills Kelly, Director, Global Affairs, at George Mason University notes: “If you want an “escort” or a “sensual massage,” Facebook can set you right up. With minimal searching, I found a variety of pages for escorts in Germany, the Persian Gulf, the United Kingdom, and India, and links to massage parlors in the United States as well as around the world. Lest you think these massage parlors are offering sports massage or something similarly benign, a quick scan of their pages indicates that they are most definitely not offering therapeutic massage.”
Professor Kelly continues, “Facebook is giving these sorts of establishments an outlet on the Web.”
What You Can Do
The FBI is cracking down on all forms of human trafficking, from the street-level pimp to the cyberspace Casanova with its Innocence Lost Task Force. Pimps can expect mandatory prison sentences and more severe penalties under federal law.
You can help protect girls in your community by contacting your nearest FBI office or the National Center for Exploited Children’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST.