- Opal Singleton Hendershot
Alleged Blood Gang Members Indicted on Sex Trafficking Charges
How does a sex trafficking ring in NYC impact those outside of that area? What we can learn from this group of indictments.
Nine alleged blood members indicted for operating sex trafficking ring in Bronx motels
Alleged gang members indicted for sex trafficking
You may think that a gang's activity in New York has nothing to do with your life. Theoretically it doesn't. But there is much to learn from this article.
1.) GANGS USE TRAFFICKING TO MAKE MONEY. Whether it is guns, drugs or sex, trafficking is all about making money and using others to do it. These are Blood gang members- a subset called Hunts Point Family Bloods. There were NINE of them arrested and more being investigated. So it is not a stand alone enterprise. It is organized crime
2.) They operated out of several hotels. Some were local around the Bronx but others went into New York City so it was a pretty big operation. Many of the women were forced into "Outcalls" meaning they went to the sex buyers location (very risky). The women were TOLD what sex acts they would provide. Degrading sex acts especially command more money for the pimp/gang even though they may cause serious physical damage to the victim.
3.) They used social media to recruit at risk and vulnerable girls promising them money and acceptance. Some were teens and others were young adult females. These guys are 19 to 31 years old and most likely used dating sites to attract and groom the girls into a fantasy relationship.
4.) They took photos of the girls and posted them in online advertisements. These are often used for blackmail, telling the victims that the photos are everywhere and that the girls are now damaged goods and cannot ever go back to their lives. The victims are so psychologically manipulated that they believe them and few take the chance of leaving.
5.) Many of the victims were beaten, punched, slapped and thrown to the ground. The victims were drugged with Xanax and Percocet to sedate them and control them and keep them in the life.
6.) Note: In gang trafficking the victims are often traded among other gang members as favors or vengeance. This is how a beautiful 14-15-16 year old girl starts out being in love with a young guy and very quickly ends up being controlled and owned by a mid-40's gorilla pimp who constantly threatens to end her life and the life of her family and loved ones.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION: Certainly victim services for the victims. Their needs are great and it will often take years to recover. They have a vast spectrum of damage to heal from including medical/physical, mental and psychological and will also need a safe haven to live, legal help, employment, etc. But the first need is safety, inclusion, understanding and dealing with the trauma.
THE BEST SOLUTION: PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION THROUGH EDUCATION. It is critical that we educate young people about how pimps, pedophiles and predators use social media to develop fantasy relationship that will end in the young person taking a chance that could cost them their lives.
It is also important to train agencies, law enforcement, code enforcement, hotel operators, school officials, LMFT, social workers, faith based leaders on the trends in trafficking M.O so that these case can be brought to light, investigated, prosecuted and victims rescued.