, USA TODAY9:07 p.m. EDT October 6, 2016

The top executive of the online classified portalBackpage.com and two of the company’s controlling shareholders were charged on Thursday with felony pimping charges in the state of California as authorities alleged the web site operators were effectively running an “online brothel.”

Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage, which runs its operations out of Dallas and Amsterdam, was arrested after arriving in Houston from a flight from the Netherlands.

PTEMBER 19, 2016DELAWARE'S SEX TRADE: BIG BUSINESS IN A SMALL STATE

The so-called 'life'- Delaware's sex trade, Part 1

(images via Delaware State Police)

 

 For the past several months, WHYY's Zoë Read has been interviewing experts about prostitution and sex trafficking in Delaware. WHYY will publish a chapter of the story each day of the week.

The So-Called “Life”

Tammie still has “the walk.”                

The way of moving only recognizable to men on their lunch break looking to pick up women off the street.

“I’ve been doing it since I was 15,” Tammie, 48, said. “I’ve been walking the same way my whole life.”

Her gait and stare used to be intentional to lure men—now it’s unconscious.

When men pull their car over, Tammie, a sex trafficking survivor, continues walking—after a sarcastic comment: “What, you gonna buy me lunch?”

Tammie was involved in prostitution—also known as “the life”— for 30 years. She battled a meth addiction for decades.

“By the time I was [in my 20s] I was at 1,000 guys. By the time I was 45, probably 3 or 4 thousand,” said Tammie, who has been clean off drugs for more than three years. “I’ve been raped, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been put in the hospital, I’ve been shot at.”

Erica, 28, has been in the life for about 12 years. A transgender woman, Erica dropped out of high school and ran away from foster care at 16. She has been homeless and involved in prostitution ever since.

“I keep my condoms in my pocket book and if I need a couple dollars I go out and find someone,” Erica said. "It’s like a game. Just to see who’s out and who you buck up on.”

She said she’s become immune to the life—but she wants to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s a lot of dangerous situations I put myself in and I’m getting to that point I’m getting really tired,” she said. “It just gets to the point I’m waiting for death.”

Advocates say there are hundreds of women and some men in Delaware who, like Tammie and Erica, struggle day-to-day with the hardships of prostitution.

Many of the women were trafficked and forced into prostitution as children or adults.

Others got into the life to fund their drug addiction, or as a way to support themselves financially when no other option was available.

Many of the women involved in prostitution, trafficked or not, have traumatic histories or deep-rooted personal issues.

Andrew MichaelsContact ReporterHoward County Times

A 29-year-old Delaware man pleaded guilty to human trafficking of a 17-year-old girl Monday in Howard County Circuit Court. He was arrested in February after evading a Maryland State Police and FBI investigation near a Jessup hotel.

Judge Richard S. Bernhardt sentenced Nathaniel Lee Thompson, of Wilmington, Del., to nine years in prison, five years probation after his release and to register as a Tier II sex offender for 25 years.

This is the face of a man who manipulated, abused, and violated his victims so he could profit from their torture.

Courtesy of the Cape Gazette:
Man arrested in Rehoboth for human trafficking

September 5, 2016

A 32-year-old Wilmington man is facing human trafficking charges after police say he was discovered to be running a prostitution ring out of a Rehoboth Beach-area motel.  

On Sept. 2, detectives and special agents with Homeland Security began conducting surveillance on the motel after Delaware State Police Troop 4 Major Crimes received information that Marcus P. Smith was operating a prostitution ring at that location. The name of the motel was redacted from court records. Homeland Security began communicating directly with the phone number associated with online prostitution posts.  

When Smith and two females left the hotel about 1 p.m., Sept. 3, troopers and task force members conducted a traffic stop on his vehicle, and Smith was taken into custody without incident. A search of Smith revealed he was in possession of more than $1,400 in suspected prostitution proceeds. He and two female victims, as well as Smith's 6-month-old daughter, were taken to Troop 7 in Lewes.

Article courtesy of the Cape Gazette - August 22, 2016

Two men face charges after police say they ran a human trafficking ring in Sussex County out of area motels.

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