Thursday, November 03, 2005

Woman Tells Terrifying Story Of Teen Prostitution

County Report: 76 Teen Prostitutes Arrested Last Year
POSTED: 5:25 pm PST November 2, 2005
UPDATED: 8:17 pm PST November 2, 2005

SAN DIEGO -- Some revealing information about San Diego teenagers and prostitution.

As a new study is released, one young woman is coming forward with a terrifying story of prostitution, sexual slavery and survival.

"I remember praying the time when things were happening to me, praying God would let me die," said the woman, whom 10News will call Sarah.

Her nightmare started in a San Jose parking lot. A woman, who 10News will call Sarah, was 18 and walking in broad daylight when several men got out of their car and cornered her.

"The driver said, 'I have a gun, get in the car.' I got in the car," she said.

Sarah said she was taken to a home and beaten multiple times and continually raped.

"(They) raped me, blindfolded me than wrote all over my body -- derogatory negative things. Then (they) took the blindfold off, repeating everything that was said about me," she said.

For a year, Sarah and other girls were taken around the country and prostituted, 10News reported. Sarah said all thoughts of escaping were erased by one kidnapper's methods.

"He took me to my brother's school with a gun to my head and said this is how easy it would be to kill your brother," Sarah said.

When the possibility of her dying became likely, Sarah said she slipped someone the number for her parents, leading to her rescue.

Sarah's story sheds light on a problem that isn't going away. In a newly released county report, a survey of law enforcement, counselors and others found teen prostitution a common to very common problem.

Countywide, 76 girls were arrested last year on suspicion of teen prostitution -- a 27 percent increase over a one-year period. And a majority are coerced -- some by family or friends. Others like Sarah are forced by strangers.

One of the human traffickers in Sarah's case was convicted. Another remains missing.

Meanwhile, county officials say the 76 arrests belie a bigger problem. Many who are arrested are charged with several crimes and are never classifed as prostitutes.

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