Is an underground world of sex traffickers the real reason for our missing young men and women?

Rodney Stokley
Child sex trafficking has become a $42 billion a year illegal industry. Local police estimate up to 500 teens are working as sex slaves every day in King County. This sign on a boarded up motel along Aurora Avenue urges those involved with prostitution to seek help. (Linda Thomas photo)

Is there an underground world of sex traffickers that are preying on our loved ones?  Is this the reason why so many young men and women are disappearing without a trace?

When I heard about sex trafficking about a year ago I thought they were talking about what happens in a far away country somewhere.  When I realized they were talking about the US, I couldn’t believe it.

Minnesota Sex Trafficking Rings

What I thought was basically all about prostitutes at truck stops, strip clubs, pimps and internet pornography is becoming more wide spread and darker than ever as more people are becoming involved in selling another human being for money.  Families are forming their own sex trafficking organizations and are even going as far as to purchase houses as bases for their sex trafficking operation. See Brittany Wood story.

Police are aware of it, but are having a tough time getting to the source of it all, just like drug trafficking.  The organizations are becoming as complicated and elusive as the cartel.

Back in March 2011, there were leads that came in regarding the Hailey Dunn case to the Ellis County Observer.  It was found that a network of HUD homes were listed in police reports as the address of suspected registered sex offenders and a man accused of harboring and keeping missing children–Please note missing children is a broad term used by LE which includes teens.  Teens are usually considered runaways and that is why not much is heard about it– One of the names was linked back to a person that was known by the Dunn family.  Whether there is a true connection the Ellis County Observer was trying to sort out.

According to the Ellis County Observer, a child abuse trafficking network originated in Ennis, Texas in 2011 was run by a man who they believe abducted and killed Amber Hagerman.

After doing a search for sex-trafficking rings, I found several just in January.  One article was about five men from Texas who were arrested for sex trafficking in Texas, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado from 2012 and 2013.

Another from August where the police arrested two men and a woman in Austin who were working in two interconnected sex trafficking rings, after two of the woman that were being held against their will escaped and went to the police.  The woman stated they were abducted from Houston.  Please note, there is a very large number of women and men missing from that area of Houston.

In Hayward, Calif. a young girl that was noticed by police walking in an area frequented by prostitutes was stopped and she told police that she was abducted and forced to work for two men.  The girl had been reported missing and was returned to her family while the two men were arrested.  Not only was that young girl was saved, but two other woman were found being held captive in a motel that was being used as the base of the operation.  Hayward is near San Francisco, where there is a large number of men missing from that area. 

  “If a guy has a hotel room, he’s got three to four girls working between 10 o’clock at night until 5 o’clock in the morning and he’s charging anywhere from $200 to $250 per sex act. The girl is going to service six to seven guys a night, do that for 30 days and the guy is a millionaire because you know she’s not keeping any of the money.” – Phil Martin, national director of Compassion 2 One.

Also, just recently in San Diego, a large arrest was made of an organization that had a sex trafficking ring that spanned 23 states.  They even went so far as to brand their captures with tattoos.  Although the San Diego gang was said to “lure” the women to become prostitutes and did not abduct them.

Just last year, through a tip I received I was able to tell a mom that her teen daughter was suspected to be involved in prostitution.  After several weeks she was found and rescued.  Yes, rescued.  They had her held in a motel room and she could not leave nor escape.

I could go on and on and list case after case…

Taking women and holding them captive and forcing them to work as a prostitute has become such a well-known way of making lots of money that it is spreading, and if they can’t find willing “workers” they will take them off the street and force them.

Police must do more now, than to assume that anyone has left on their own free will, as times have changed and it is more than likely they may have been abducted.

In fact, times have changed so much that the men indicted for the San Diego sex-trafficking ring created and produced their own rap single that can be purchased with the proceeds going to their legal costs.   Years ago this type of action would have been considered heinous, and now it is printed in the music section of a newspaper as a curious topic, where a local blogger calls the song, “a work of art.”

There is a high chance that the sudden upswing of missing young men and woman is because of these underground rings that are taking our young men and woman right off the streets.

Another case that supports this thought is the case of Laura Simonson.  According to an anonymous source that contacted Missing Persons of America, Laura is a victim of sex trafficking.  According to the information Laura was taken out of her mother’s home on November 2, by a man, that I will not name at this time.

Laura Simonson

According to the source the man was looking for a permanent confinement slave.  This same man has also posted on BDSM websites that he has bought and sold women over the years, and that he had created a dungeon in his basement for that purpose.  Click here to read new story about this case.

The Farmington and Milwaukee Police Departments are aware of this information and even have talked to the man, but could not do much more as he denied that he has seen Laura in months.

Without a warrant they cannot enter the home to look for her and without evidence to obtain a warrant the whole thing is at a dead stop.

We only need to be reminded of the three women held in Ariel Castro’s Ohio home for 10 years to know that it is possible to do this and get away with it.  The police came to that home several times over the years, and they never knew the women were there.

Take this above story and multiply it across the United States and you can see how easy it is for those, either for their own sick self-fulfillment or for monetary gain can abduct, trade and use men and woman without much being done about it.

Police are stepping up and doing what they can and they are stiff penalties for abduction, but not so much for pimping.

Upping the penalties is going to be a necessary move by the judicial system in order to slow down this rise in human trafficking.  But, even so, we still need to find these underground organizations.  Maybe an underground counter group needs to be created to save these men and women that operate under the law, but then we are talking about vigilantism.  Is that the only answer to stopping this growing epidemic?

The one thing that I keep seeing over and over again is that the missing person was last known to be walking alone.-Jerrie Dean, MPofA 

In the meantime Nevada is trying to help.  Please watch this 30-minute special documentary to learn more.

About Missing Persons Admin 4515 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

1 Comment

  1. But Jerrie, if these women are being held against their will and raped, why can't the perpetrators be charged with kidnapping, rape etc., which I thought would carry harsher penalties than 'pimping'? I would rather call it what it really is. And sentence them for it, too.

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