Human Trafficking takes the form of many faces. Labor exploitation, bonded labor, involuntary servitude, and child sex trafficking occur in the United States. Trafficking crimes can be conducted by large-scale operations or by individuals.
Sex trafficking is so offensive. As many as two million children are lured, sold, or kidnapped for the purpose of sexual exploitation in hotels, night clubs, brothels, massage parlors, private residences, on sex tours, and online services. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possible death.
Read one story from 2014 that involved Athens County, Ohio, residents ...
An Athens County woman was sentenced for using a 16-year-old girl as a prostitute in exchange for money and drugs. Aileen M. Mays had been facing three indictments, with charges of compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, aggravated drug possession and theft.
The prostitution and trafficking charges stemmed from an incident late last year in which she allegedly took money and drugs from a 69-year-old Athens man, who is a convicted sex offender, in exchange for a 16-year-old (and Mays herself, apparently) having sex with the man, Fred W. Kittle, Sr. The other charges stemmed from alleged shoplifting and being caught with prescription pills in her possession.
According to the Athens County Prosecutor's Office, Aileen Mays, age 27, the mother of two young girls, was sentenced to five years in prison for compelling prostitution.
Mays allegedly made arrangements for the 16-year-old female to have sex with this Kittle. She is said to have received "drugs and/or money" in exchange for the girl performing sex acts with him. At the time, Kittle was already a registered sex offender in Athens County, according to the sheriff's office. He was convicted of attempted rape in 1996.
In an exclusive interview with NBC4's Denise Alex-Bouzounis, Mays said she and the teen girl, who lived with her, walked to the home of Kittle on Rock Point Road to borrow money to buy drugs.
There, she says "she saw the 69-year-old man have sex with the 16-year-old girl."
"She never said 'no.' She never said 'stop.' I didn't force her. I never asked her. He did," said Mays.
But, Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said Mays apparently went to Kittle's home intending to rob him, but somehow ended up instead selling him sex in exchange for money and drugs. Kittle supposedly had sex once with Mays, and twice with the 16-year-old girl.
Blackburn said Mays "clearly has a drug problem," which helped lead to the criminal charges.
(Denise Yost. "Athens County Woman Sentenced To 5 Years For Using Teen As Prostitute." nbc4i.com. March 19, 2014)
Upon her release from prison, Mays will be subject to five years of mandatory post release control.
The 16-year-old girl has been placed in custody of children services.
In a plea agreement with the Athens County Prosecutor's Office, Fred Kittle pleaded guilty to one count of importuning. Judge L. Alan Goldsberry sentenced Kittle to the mandatory one-year prison term with five years post-release control and registration as a Tier I sex offender.
The complications of this trafficking make me sick at my stomach. Mays and Kittle conspired to ruin the life of an innocent young girl. After using her, they had no apparent remorse. I'm sure some will say, "A 16 year-old who consented to having sex in such circumstances deserves what she gets. After all, drugs and possibly robbery were involved." And, that kind of talk makes me violently ill.
Kittle's sentence of a one year prison term is particularly disturbing. How can a convicted sex offender -- one still openly preying upon children with lures of illegal drugs for sex -- receive such a slight sentence? I think the judgment must reflect the sad fact that a prevalent belief in society is that a teen who is physically able to have sex is understood to have sufficient thinking skills to resist evil sexual predators. This just is not so -- the consent (even if it is, indeed, that on the part of the minor) has been carefully manipulated by adults.
Young girls need maximum protection from those involved in trafficking and sex crimes. They are vulnerable victims at great risks to criminals like Mays and Kittle.