The same teenage girls were often absent from their classes on Fridays and Mondays.
When they came to school, they wore flashy jewelry and provocative clothing and often carried more than one cellphone. Sometimes they had visible bruises. The defendants recruited about girls and young women by promising a lavish lifestyle and emotional support and plying them with alcohol and drugs, federal prosecutors said.
When those tactics failed, the pimps used violence, they added. Similar indictments in recent years have targeted gangs in Oceanside and the North Park neighborhood of San Diego.
More indictments linking gangs and prostitution are anticipated by the U. With drugs and weapons becoming riskier business ventures because of more aggressive law enforcement, gangs have moved into prostitution. The money is easy and the Internet and social media have replaced streetwalking and red-light zones as an effective method of attracting johns, officials said. The San Diego region, for reasons that are unclear, appears to be a dubious leader in this new trend. The recent indictment alleges that rival gangs that normally use violence to settle disputes over turf and drugs have decided to cooperate in running a prostitution operation.
Different gangs have different responsibilities: transportation, recruitment, marketing, etc. Duffy last week talked to principals and teachers at Grossmont to thank them for their help and also ask that they redouble efforts to watch for telltale s that gangs are recruiting their students. Also, students should be warned about pimps. With a grant from the U. There are already websites advising would-be pimps on how to apply psychological pressure to persuade girls and women to become prostitutes.
One difficulty in prosecuting prostitution cases is lack of cooperation from the victims.
Some will insist they decided to sell sex only to get money to help their boyfriend launch a rap music career. They live in an altered reality.
According to the recent indictment, 19 men and three women were part of a hybrid gang called Tycoons that sent girls and young women to customers in California, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan and Nevada. The Tycoons are also accused of attempted murder, drug trafficking, burglary and robbery, according to the indictment. The 22 face federal charges of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, which can carry a life sentence. Tycoons members boasted of their prostitution business on Facebook and in freestyle rap songs about prostitution and drugs on YouTube, according to the indictment.
One of the female defendants, who called herself Christal Cash, warned on a Facebook posting that any prostitute who refused to turn over money to her pimp would be beaten, according to the indictment.
One defendant allegedly tried to enroll one of his prostitutes in high school to act as a recruiter. Hats and shirts often carried the name of their subgroup, according to the indictment. A common place to recruit potential prostitutes was the trolley station in Lemon Grove, a gathering spot for young girls, including runaways. Plaschke: Giants and their fans win Game 1 of grudge match.
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Times Store. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. By Tony Perry. Reporting from San Diego — It began with teachers and counselors becoming suspicious.
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