Three teenagers, two 17 and one 16, who were accused of forcing girls as young as 12 into prostitution have reached plea agreements and been sentenced to a juvenile detention center. The agreement will keep them in detention no longer than their 19th birthdays. In exchange for their pleading guilty, prosecutors dropped other charges, including human trafficking. Charges against others allegedly involved in the ring are pending in adult court.
The prostitution ring was discovered in August after a woman was caught offering men sex with a 14-year-old girl for $50. The teenagers were arrested in January after they had taken the girl to a convenience store to have sex with the owner, a regular customer of the ring, according to police. The teen pimps are suspected members of the Varrio Central gang. Court documents suggest the teens that pleaded guilty befriended runaways and other girls with unstable homes. They would take the girls to regular customers or finding new ones by walking through apartment complexes.
Furthering the graveness of the crimes, the gang members beat and sexually assaulted them and threatened their families if the girls refused to have sex for money, police said. One of the girl’s mother said, “These girls have to live with what happened for the rest of their lives,” said the mother, who was not named to conceal the identity of her daughter. “These boys aren’t going to serve much time. I don’t think that after a year and half, they’ll be ready to get back into society.”