They're called ‘' Romeo Pimps." A catchy yet troubling name given to men who con vulnerable young women into a relationship with them, pretending to care, then turn them out on the streets as prostitutes .
That's the simple explanation. The longer story involved seduction, telling these women that the ‘' Romeo'' is the only one that cares about them, offering them food, shelter, clothing if they're runaways or troubled as they often are. It's a global problem, and Southern California is one of the worst hotspots. In tonight's story we hear from Stacy (http://thestacyproject.weebly.com/my-story.html ), now a young mother, 28 years-old, who originally is from Chino, moved to Texas, was by her own admission a troubled promiscuous 14 year old when she got lured into a life of forced sex by a 22 year-old who she thought was her boyfriend. Listening to her story is a real eye opener.
Often threats of violence not just against the girl but against family members keep them in a physiological prison that can be very difficult to escape. Fortunately there is growing awareness of this problem. In LA County just today the city, county, non-profits and a large law firm joined forces to combat human trafficking, of which forced sex is a big part.
In Orange County the sex trafficking task force has put some 17 people in prison in less than a year, and has almost 50 open ongoing investigations. An O. C. organization called ‘' Community Service Programs" In ( www.cspinc.org) has an excellent victims services program offering help and shelter for girls trying to break free. It's a shocking, cruel problem but a very real one. There are literally hundreds of thousands of victims. In California Attorney General Kamala Harris has made fighting trafficking a priority. There is a wealth of information on her website.
There is a national hotline, 888-373-7888, there are a lot of resources devoted to fighting this, sadly, it's very lucrative for the criminals, second only to drug trafficking they say, so there's no real end in sight. These ‘'Romeo Pimps'' are the lowest of the low, but they're con men who've perfected their pitch to vulnerable teenagers. Be aware and be careful.