Thursday, February 15, 2007

Arizona: Lies Trap Children in Prostitution

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- She was only 13 when she met him on an Internet chat line. He said they could make some money together. She thought he meant selling drugs.

It was not until he brought her to Arizona from Utah the day before her 14th birthday and put her on a street corner that she realized that she would be selling her body.

“At first I was real, real scared to do it,” she said. But she is 15 now, and “used to it. If I end up dead, I’m supposed to end up dead. God’s with me.”

The girl’s story isn’t unique. Child prostitution is a growing problem across the country, as girls and boys, some even 13 and younger, are put on the streets and sold over the Internet for sex.

State and federal prosecutors have begun working together to win the harshest sentences for those caught trafficking minors or having sex with them. And officials in Phoenix — one of 14 cities, including Detroit, that is participating in the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative — are pushing to strengthen state laws that could put pimps and johns behind bars possibly for life, even if they don’t know the girls are underage.


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