Pimps Hit Social Networks To Recruit Underage Sex Workers

Source: Erica Fink and Laurie Segall / CNN Money

“Pimps are professional exploiters,” says Andrea Powell, executive director of Fair Girls, an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking. “Often they’re just spamming a whole bunch of girls with messages like, ‘Hey, you look cute. I could be your boyfriend.'”

That’s one way Justin Strom — aka “J-Dirt” — recruited the high-school girls he and his followers trafficked in Alexandria, Va., an affluent suburb on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. For six years, the members of Strom’s “Underground Gangster Crips” gang operated a prostitution ring that ensnared at least eight 16- and 17-year olds, according to court documents.

The girls were rented out to five to 10 customers each on a typical night. The going rate was around $30 for 15 minutes of sex.

The group “searched Facebook for attractive young girls, and sent them messages telling them that they were pretty and asking if they would like to make some money,” one witness told a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent investigating the case. The court records include a trail of those messages.

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