Thursday, May 22, 2008

CA: Underage Prostitutes on CraigsList

A young prostitute targeted because she was thought to be underage waits in handcuffs after a Sacramento police vice team led by Sgt. Pam Seyffert and working with FBI agent Minerva Shelton arranged a hotel-room meeting with her via the Internet. Officers subsequently learned that the suspect was not a juvenile.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - If she tried hard, 14-year-old Jasmine could have sex with nine men a day. She'd start posting ads online at 2 or 3 p.m., in time to set up appointments with early commuters.

She'd finish by 5:30 a.m., exhausted and disgusted. The money – about $100 per trick – went to whichever pimp was profiting from her lost innocence.

In September, Sacramento police Sgt. Pam Seyffert and her vice unit picked up Jasmine at a Good Nite Inn near California State University, Sacramento. They'd found her the same way so many men had: on craigslist.

Well-known as a free online community bulletin board, craigslist has gained the dubious distinction of being a popular site for pimps to market young girls to customers, or "johns."

The young prostitutes often are disguised behind photos advertising older women, Seyffert says, and almost always claim to be at least 18.

It is difficult to estimate just how many children are being pimped out, either locally or nationally. In 2003, the FBI reported about 1,400 juveniles were arrested nationally for prostitution...


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