tv Sex Slaves in the Suburbs MSNBC October 30, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
they're all-american girls, raised to believe that it could never happen to them. >> i was such a trusting teenager. like i thought that everybody liked me and everybody wanted to be my friend. >> that sex slavery is a nightmare reserved only for young foreign girls. >> shawna had been sold on the internet for $300,000. >> but it's a million-dollar industry -- >> my daughter's been kidnapped. >> -- that preys on american girls kidnapped and coerced. >> it's so lucrative that everybody and their brother wants to be a pimp these days. >> open, police. open the door so we don't have to use the key. >> the sex industry's dirty little secret about girls forced to sell their bodies in order to survive. >> i think i found one here, a missing girl out of redwood
city. >> msnbc undercover investigates "sex slaves in the suburbs." ♪ it's a story that begins in small town usa with the girl next door. >> i always figured something like that could never happen to me because i was safe. i was always careful. >> at 16 shauna newell had heard the stories of thousands of young foreign women being tricked into modern-day sexual slavery. >> i always thought stuff like that only happened to people who like were putting themselves in that position, in that predicament, you know, like girls who were floozies and girls who just took life for granted. and i wasn't that kind of person. you know? i dressed respectably.
i never showed my body off ever. >> but this florida teenager's life took a terrifying turn when she was trafficked by the most unlikely criminal, a fellow 16-year-old girl. >> i was such a trusting teenager. like i thought that everybody liked me and everybody wanted to be my friend and nobody would hurt me. >> 200,000 to 300,000 of our children are at risk of it every single year. our children, united states citizens. >> brad dennis runs rescue and recovery for klaas kids, the national organization dedicated to saving missing children. he says shauna's case illustrates the alarming growth of the disappearance of american kids. an estimated 300,000 who are forced into prostitution in the u.s. each year. >> it's happening in every major town, every little suburban area, every rural area. it's happening all over the united states. >> it happened when shauna began an innocent friendship with a new girl junior year in high school. >> [ bleep ] is a girl i went to school with.
i met her through g.e.d. classes. and she was a really good friend. >> shauna says that girl, a 16-year-old we'll call cathy, worked hard to gain shauna's trust, and within months a deep friendship was born. >> we would always talk in class. i would always tell her, "me and my mom were arguing again, of course." >> it was my gut instinct as a mother to keep shauna away from her. >> shauna's mother lisa says that from the start her daughter's fast friendship with kathy made her uneasy. >> when i first met her at school, she came out to the car shauna introduced me to her and shauna got in the car and i told her to stay away from her. >> i was like, [ bleep ], my parents aren't controlling, you can come over to my house and we can do whatever we want to do. you want to go out and drink, we can go out and drink. my grandpa will even let us borrow the car. >> compared to her churchgoing, strict upbringing, kathy's dad sounded like a dream parent. >> he would give us $100, drop us off at the mall and say have fun. my mom was strict. she was really strict.
like it wasn't just like oh, i met this girl at school and i'll go hang out with her. it wasn't like that at all. she had to come over to the house and she had to hang out at the house for quite a while before i was allowed to go off with her. >> but shauna's friendship only grew stronger, and she spent weeks lobbying her mothers for permission to spend the night at cathy's house. lisa, a registered nurse, returned from work to an immaculate house. >> i said, shauna, what do you want? i want to talk to you. i said, okay. and she said before you say no, listen to me. i said, okay. she said, [ bleep ] wants me to come spend the weekend with her to go help clean condos with her dad. and i said, shauna, i'm not going to discuss that now. and she said, well, can she at least come home and her dad meet you, and at least you could meet him? i said, well, we can at least do that. but i'm still telling you i'm not going to let you go still yet, shauna. >> later that night, kathy and her dad came over to the house to meet shauna's mother and grandmother. >> he was slick. he was like yeah, the girls are going to go clean condos and they'll make like $80 apiece,
and i'll make sure she calls you. and you you know, you can come out there anytime. and shauna's just begging me, begging me, begging me. so i finally gave in. >> kathy's dad took the two girls to a friend's house not far from where shauna lived. >> her dad took us to this house. and said he'd be right back. and he left us there. and probably about 20 or 30 minutes after we were there i asked for some water because i was thirsty. and i drank the water, and i blacked out. >> when shauna woke up, she felt groggy and couldn't move. >> my legs were being held down. and the guy that was raping me was holding my hands back. and i was completely naked. and it was really cold in the room. so i knew i was completely naked. and luke i kept screaming, stop, please don't do this, leave me alone. but i was so weak i couldn't fight him off. like i was still really out of it. and i blacked out a few times, and i kept coming back to and i was still being raped every time i woke up. >> at home her mother started to worry.
>> my cell phone rang. and the only thing i heard was a whole bunch of static, somebody was far away, and all i heard was "mommy help me." and the phone went dead. and i freaked. >> shauna says even though she was weakened by whatever drugs her captors forced on her she tried to struggle. >> eventually i stopped fighting it because i thought if i fought it i wouldn't live, i would die. i would piss them off and end up like the other girls i heard of dying because they fought it. so i just laid there. >> for three days, shauna was raped by multiple men who paid to have sex with her. some of the men beat her. others bit her and forced her to perform oral sex. >> i remember one time i woke up and when i woke up i started screaming because i couldn't see anything and i was being held down and the guy put a gun to my head and said that if i didn't start screaming he pointed at the white wall next to me, if i didn't stop screaming i was going to see my brains all over that white wall. at that point i really, really
thought i was going to die. >> i couldn't sleep. i couldn't eat. all i could imagine, i wasn't going to hear the last thing out of shauna's mouth was "mommy, help me." i just refused that. >> while her frantic family called police, a beaten and bleeding shauna could see her so-called friend walking back and forth through the hallway. >> i was so exhausted. and i was so scared. that i finally -- i think i just gave up. i think i finally just said, well, this is where i'm going to die. and i remember just praying and saying if i die here, just at least please, please tell my family that, you know, that i love them and that i'm sorry that i disobeyed them and just let them know that i'm sorry. >> i just get back in the car from hanging up flyers on a telephone pole. my husband, he was like, "they found shauna. they found shauna." [ female announcer ] that's the all-natural sugar she puts on her grapefruit.
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for three days men held 16-year-old shauna captive in this house on what appears to be a quiet street in suburban florida. >> there was, like, curtains all over the windows, so it was really dark in there. there was like no tvs, no dressers, no nothing. just a bed. that was all that was in the bedroom, was just a bed. >> what neighboring residents didn't know is that hour after hour behind darkened windows men were paying cash to forcibly rape a high school junior who had been kidnapped and drugged. >> when i woke up, i was pretty much just laying there completely naked with no blankets, no pillows, nothing, no clothes. and i was bleeding really bad from where they had raped me. >> shauna says she lost count of the number of men but what became very clear was that her high school classmate cathy was no friend and that shauna had been lured to the house to make money for the man cathy claimed was her father. after receiving a frantic phone call from her daughter, shauna's mother lisa called police.
she says they told her not to worry and tried to convince her shauna had run away. >> he's like, "oh, there's nothing i can do, you know teenagers." and i was like, no, you don't understand. i know my children. something's wrong. >> i kind of knew something -- you know, as a fatherly feeling i guess you would say in my stomach, pit of my stomach that something was wrong. i knew it was wrong, so i had to go out and do the best that i could as a father. >> police dispatch told the family they couldn't conduct an official missing persons search until 72 hours had passed. but after hearing the story about cathy and her mysterious dad lisa said the responding officer gave them a clue that made the difference between life and death for shauna. >> he told my husband, he said -- and i thank him to this day for it -- he said, "i've got a number. and what you do with this number is your business. i've got to go to the radio and call this in." so real quick-like my husband
hurried up and copied it. >> even though it was nearly midnight, shauna's family mobilized their own search by following that phone number which led them to an abandoned construction site. >> there's nobody there. so my husband hangs up with the man and he calls the man back and he's like where do you live? and the man gives us a different address. so my 'cause keeps him on the phone to make sure he ain't lying to us. and we pull up and it's an old man. he's probably like 80 years old. my husband gets out and he's like, do you know shauna and [ bleep ]. he's like, "yeah she's my granddaughter." >> at midnight they get an address from kathy's grandfather and race to a strange house, where shauna's stepdad thinks he sees her in an upstairs window. >> they open the door with a chain on. and he said, do you know shauna? yeah. get out of here. i don't want no trouble from her. my husband said, guess what, buddy? now you got it. he busted the door open. he said shauna come down. it looked just like shauna. the girl come down and it wasn't
shauna. it was a girl on crutches. but shauna had been there. at first he didn't want to tell us that until my husband was fixing to get violent with him. and the girl started screaming, "just tell him. just tell him." >> under threat of violence the man admitted he had seen shauna but refused to say any more. while they searched on foot, shauna's older brother alerted friends who worked for the local county search and rescue team. that call for help reached brad dennis, national recovery director of klaaskids. >> so really the best thing you can do at that point is just begin talking to the family and talking with them about it all and then call her friends, really try to find out who this young girl is and what is she really all about. >> while friends and family searched the area, brad dennis pressured police to run background checks on shauna's friend cathy and made a frightening discovery. the new girl who had befriended shauna had served time for prostitution in texas.
>> we'd finally gotten a name which turned out not to be this girl's father at all. so they began making some phone calls. and at that point things started changing very rapidly. >> it's day three, and shauna's family grows increasingly anxious about whether or not they will see their daughter alive. by now 22 volunteers hit the streets in search of the missing 16-year-old. shauna's brother austin, who was 15 at the time, remembers. >> we started at the burger king right before you get to the bridge. and we just -- we spanned out from there. we took the entire highway right there, we went up and down, posting flyers. >> we split up in groups taking flyers all over the beach. >> we had nine or ten cars packed with people and like four or five trucks. >> brad dennis knows time is crucial and that with each passing day chances of recovering shauna diminish. dennis makes one last phone call
pressuring and threatening both cathy and the man posing as cathy's father. he tells them the fbi and the national media will pursue them nonstop until they find shauna. >> and oh, by the way, we're going to be located over here conducting searches, and if shauna just happens to show up that's a wonderful thing. >> the volunteer search team stops at a local tom thumb to get soda. shauna's brother austin sees a car pull up into the parking lot of the store. >> while i was inside i look out and see that it was her in the car. and i ran out there. >> i just get back in the car from hanging up flyers on a telephone pole and the phone rings and my husband turned pale white. >> the back seat was laying down and she was sitting on top of the back seat, and i looked in and i went to open the door and it was locked. and then i reached around to open the back door and opened it up and i was like pulling her. >> he was like they found shauna, they found shaun papp. >> i went to pull her out and the dude was like no, she ain't going nowhere. so i pulled out my knife, put it to his throat and said it's his life or her.
she took off running. >> she looked totally wasted. i mean, i don't know -- like she wasn't even in the world. >> when i looked at her i was freaked because at first i didn't know it was shauna. because it didn't look like shauna. >> she was really crazy, like almost even satan was in her. >> her hair was just a mad woman. her hair was sticking up. she was pale as a ghost. her eyes were black and blue. her mouth was bloody. her nose was bloody. her throat had hand prints all over it. her shirt was ripped. she had bite marks all over her breasts. she had shorts on. she was bleeding down her legs. >> surrounded by police, medical professionals and her family, a severely beaten and incoherent shauna didn't even recognize her own mother. even though she was free of her captors, a new fight for survival had just begun. >> it looked like she was gone. she was beat up severely. they had beaten her. i later found out that they raped her severely several times, five or six guys.
they drugged her up and where she was fighting them they was beating her and beating her and beating her. >> i was pretty much treated like a slave. you know? like i was only there for their pleasure and for their satisfaction, not mine. they weren't worried about if i lived or died. they were just worried about satisfying themselves. >> when the lady tried to pump my stomach when i got to the hospital, nothing at all came out of my stomach. not even water. they had to pump two full bags of water into my stomach to pump the drugs out. sten to these hapy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. i was worried it would be hard to install. but it's really easy. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. yeah. you're not... filming this, are you? aw! camera shy. snapshot from progressive. plug into the savings you deserve
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after being lured to a sleepover by a new friend at school and her fake father, shauna endured three days of being drugged, raped and tortured, and according to rescuers -- >> shauna had been sold on the internet for $300,000. >> in a twist of fate the volunteer search party looking for the 16-year-old rescued her when her captors stopped for gas trying to flee the state. >> they told me they lost her two or three times in life flight. >> lisa says paramedics who evacuated shauna struggled to
keep her alive. she said the lethal level of drugs in her daughter's system caused cardiac arrest twice. >> they had to hog-tie her to get her to hold still. and she's bloody and beat up. her hair's all wild. it don't even look like shauna. and they're having to hold her because she's freaking out. >> when the lady tried to pump my stomach when i got to the hospital, nothing at all came out of my stomach. nothing at all. not even water. they had to pump two full bags of water into my stomach to pump the drugs out. >> according to hospital records, a lethal combination of cocaine, meth, ecstasy and ghb, the rape drug, were pumped out of the 16-year-old's system. shauna's mother, a registered nurse, thought the worst was over. but the family was shocked by the treatment they received by caregivers. >> when i first got to the hospital, i was really mean to everybody. because i didn't understand that they were trying to help me. i just -- i was still in shock
from everything that had happened. and i was cussing and screaming. and anybody that tried to come close to me i was swinging at them. >> brad dennis of klaas kids, who helped to rescue shauna, said some hospital staff misread the situation. >> what i saw was a very scared, terrorized girl. that's what i saw. someone that had immediately put up her defenses because here's a situation that maybe she has a little bit of control over. >> it was just a nightmare. the hospital got angry because shauna wouldn't let them do a rape kit at first. she would have if they would have let me in the room or if they'd let my mom in the room. for christ's sake, the girl still didn't realize she was safe. she thought she was still with these people. i kept telling them, if you'll at least let me or my mother sit in the room she'll let you do this. "she's just being uncooperative, so we're leaving." and that's exactly what they done. >> finally, shauna's grandmother was allowed access to the
traumatized girl, but shauna was too terrified to tell officials anything. >> she begged shauna, shauna, please, tell grandma. you've got to talk to grandma. no, grandma, they'll kill you, they'll kill all of us, no, grandma, no. she refused to talk for about three hours. >> the hospital sometimes treated shauna more like a drug addict than a rape victim, and they say so did the police. >> we'll investigate this, but she's going to have to be in the room alone. her parents can't be there. and brad said, well, that's fine, what about a rape counselor? nope. we're interviewing her alone or we're not interviewing her at all. well, you know what? after everything she'd been through i wouldn't let nobody interview her unless i was there or my husband was there, or brad was there. >> shauna's medical records outlined the resulting wounds and infection the 16-year-old suffered after three days of sexual abuse. >> we found out that shauna had
gonorrhea in her throat. she had chlamydia. and she was severely, severely, severely torn and ripped down below. that's when they found out they used different things on her. >> the hospital declined to comment due to federal privacy laws. >> they expected me to be alone with an investigator -- a male investigator in an interrogation room. and i couldn't do that. i couldn't even be alone with my dad. they should understand that. if i can't be alone with my dad or my brothers, what makes you think i can be alone with a man that i've never met in my whole life? >> in the two years since the abduction no one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for the kidnapping, gang rape and torture of shauna newell. the escambia county sheriff's department declined msnbc's request for comment but said that shauna and her family had been uncooperative in the investigation. they added if they're now willing to cooperate they will reopen the case. >> all shauna's family ever wanted during those six days when she was missing was to bring her home. that's all they wanted.
>> marc klaas runs klaas kids, an organization dedicated to recovering abducted children. he says local police find the notion of american girls being sold into slavery just not credible. all too often, kidnapped girls are classified as runaways, which enrages helpless families. >> they didn't want to make friends with the cops. they didn't want to create enemies with the cops. they wanted their little girl to be back at her home with her family. so you've got the family that's anxious, petrified. you've got the little girl that's being victimized. and when all is said and done, what does law enforcement do? they point the finger at the family and say, well, they weren't cooperative. well, oh, my goodness. but they are the victims, aren't they? therefore, let's treat them a little more kindly. >> i was thinking the whole time, she's right. if i would have just listened to her, i wouldn't be here right now. i would be at home. i would be at home with my brothers. and i missed them so much. i missed all my brothers so much.
>> today under the watchful guard of her family shauna warns other girls about how easy it is to be kidnapped and trafficked. her mission, to save other girls from a similar fate. >> to this day i still -- i'm still scared to go out. like i went to the beach a few weeks ago, and i saw the dude who raped me. and he just looked at me like, like hey. you know. like -- you [ bleep ]. you ruined my whole life. you have scarred me for the rest of my life and you're just sitting there going on with your life like nothing is wrong. you know? you work day to day. you go do what you want to do without worrying about anybody coming up behind you and slitting your throat. >> shauna says sharing her story serves as a caution to other young girls. >> 911. >> yeah, my daughter's been kidnapped. >> these people are beating this man. his head's all bleeding and there's no police here yet. iced medicare prescription drug plan.
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hello, everyone. i'm lynn berry, and here's what's happening. nearly 3 million homes from maryland to maine are still without power after a record-setting early winter storm. rescue crews in kansas have halted efforts to find three missing workers after an explosion at a grain elevator. three other workers were killed, two more injured. and a gun battle at a shopping mall in the mexican resort city of cabo san lucas trapped hundreds of people for two hours. no one was hurt, but two men were arrested. now back to msnbc undercover. ps not every child that's designated as a runaway is a runaway child. >> marc klaas, whose organization helps track down missing girls, says that local police often dismiss teenage girls that disappear as troublemakers. >> if you have situations where the parents are reporting the
kids missing and the police are excusing it or justifying it in any way, shape or form, of course you're going to have an irate family. >> marc klaas speaks from firsthand experience. in 1993 his 12-year-old daughter was kidnapped from her own bedroom during a sleepover. >> my daughter polly, who was kidnapped by a vicious, brutal, life-term criminal, was thought to have run away for a long period of time. it offers a very easy justification for law enforcement not to get involved in these cases. and when you look at the number of cases, you can kind of understand that it would really overwhelm them. >> despite launching a two-month search to find his daughter, klaas experienced some of the same frustrations about law enforcement's reaction to the abduction. >> they developed a profile of polly's case and suggested that she had run away with her boyfriend to avoid having to move. not only were they convinced of this but they browbeat the two girls that were with polly for a
couple of weeks until they were finally able to be convinced otherwise. >> yeah, my daughter's been kidnapped. >> for three years bruce johnson has struggled daily with the trauma of dealing with the police department that he says failed his family. >> there's a fight across the street now. there's a guy beating up a man on the grass. >> this is the 911 tape from a witness on the night of may 23rd, 2005, when bruce went to rescue his eighth-grade daughter from the house where she had been kidnapped and prostituted for ten days by a vicious pimp named derek willoughby. >> the guy's sitting on him and the other people are beating him. >> okay. >> they're hitting him with a rock and a tire iron right now. >> the man being beaten by willoughby and his cohorts is bruce just moments after he freed his daughter. bruce, who still struggles from the aftereffects of the severe beating, remains outraged. >> the police aren't trained to believe that forced prostitution of kids happens here. >> for ten days after his
daughter laura and her cousin were abducted while walking to their neighborhood wendy's, bruce said the toledo police did nothing. >> they just believe it's just a runaway, just a runaway, just a runaway. >> in fact, the eighth and ninth graders had been kidnapped by a notorious ohio pimp and two women who beat and sexually abused them. michigan u.s. attorney sim sima moshan prosecuted the case. >> they were told they were going to have to call willoughby daddy, that they were going to be required to engage in sex acts for money. and then the two adult females schooled the minors on what they could expect. >> it wasn't no coaxing. it wasn't no i'll buy you this sweater. this guy was just plain, he got them in the house. boom. you got -- boom. period. >> on day ten of their captivity willoughby had the two girls and
his two female accomplices driven to this truck stop. while the teenagers were forced to have sex with the truckers, willowby's accomplices collected the cash. an alert state trooper arrested the two cohorts and one of the kidnapped girls for prostitution. >> after the other two leave she breaks down and tells us that this whole story about how she was abducted in toledo, ohio, she had another friend that was with her. she's 15 years old, the other girl was 14. they were abducted and turned into prostitution with a pimp. >> they were able to very quickly determine that she also had a cousin who had been at that truck stop earlier but who was still being held by willoughby. >> the michigan sheriff notified toledo police and bruce's family. he and his sister, the girl's mother, rushed across state lines to pick her up. >> i could just imagine what was going on with my daughter. you know, i didn't know if she was being beaten, raped, killed. if she was still alive. i didn't know that.
>> once bruce and his sister arrived at downing street, his niece pointed out the house and then he dialed 911. >> 911. >> yeah, my daughter's been kidnapped. and i found the house. >> all right. police are notified, sir. >> they waited 30 minutes but the police did not come. his sister, sandy, called again. >> yes. we called over a half hour ago about a kidnapping. >> okay. i do see the call in. but we haven't had a crew yet to go because we've been pretty backed up. >> okay. my niece is in the house. i know the guy has been abusive to the kids. sexually and physically. >> but like i said we've just been pretty backed up right now. >> okay. >> and they're handling -- there's one call ahead of you still. >> oh, geez. >> i heard the 911 operator say it was a low-priority call. they say that -- saying that a
kidnapping is a low-priority call. for the toledo police. >> fed up, bruce entered the house with a tire jack to confront willoughby, but was quickly overwhelmed by two of his companions. bruce's sister sandy called 911 again. >> 911. >> help, help, they've got bruce! my niece is in there! >> the fight made its way onto the front lawn, at which point concerned neighbors began to call. >> yes, they've got tire irons and everything out there. >> okay. >> there's women and men -- they -- oh, my god. >> with no help in sight, 20 minutes later the same neighbor called a second time. >> toledo 911. >> hi. i'm calling again. on downing. these people are beating this man. there's a rock and his head is all bleeding and there's no police here yet. >> ma'am, they're driving there. >> during the melee, bruce's daughter was pushed out of the second-story window. she ran to help her father. >> i hear, "get off my dad, get off my dad." that was my daughter.
and once i knew my daughter was safe, i said, god, if it's my time to go, you know, i'll go. i just gave up fighting. >> as his daughter ran to find help, a second neighbor called 911. >> hi. i live at [ bleep ]. and i'm watching these people beat this man with a tire iron. oh, come on. >> we got everybody coming, ma'am. they've got to drive there. >> ooh. and now she's trying to fight the other girl with the blue jeans on. >> okay. >> oh, yeah. where is the police at? oh, my -- >> they're coming. they're coming. >> ooh. ooh. oh, my goodness. >> police finally arrived and broke up the fight. while bruce was being treated for severe con sugcussions he learned the toledo police had charged him with breaking and entering the kidnapper's home. eventually those charges were thrown out. toledo police have declined our request for a comment on the case. the michigan u.s. attorney convicted derek willowby and his two associates for trafficking the two teen girls.
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let's get started here. >> for sergeant jim hogenmiller and the child exploitation squad of the oakland police department -- >> this is a craigslist operation. >> -- it's just another thursday night. o' >> the mission is to rescue any underage prostitute from being exploited and identify and arrest the pimps. >> the objective is to try to focus in on young girls that are being displayed or advertised on various internet sites such as myspace, craigslist, redbook.
>> but what these officers find routine is considered progressive by law enforcement standards. >> we take it very seriously. we've been working with the fbi for years. the exploitation of girls underage on the internet is also a federal offense. >> with help from a federal human trafficking grant the oakland pd along with the fbi regularly conduct sting operations. >> again, the mission is to rescue any underage prostitute from being exploited and identify and arrest their pimps. an officer will make a deal for a sexual act in exchange for u.s. currency. targeted individuals will be taken into custody in the room. >> their objective, to rescue young girls in trouble. tonight a male officer plays the human decoy. the decoy will call young girls from online ads and ask them to meet him at this hotel. >> there are certain girls that we've already focused in on. we've gone ahead and we printed out their play name or their stage name so to speak. where they can be reached at.
and we will start calling those individuals and attempting to lure them to the hotel room. >> veteran investigator jim salita says undercover operations like this one give law enforcement the rare opportunity to pull girls off the streets and actually arrest the pimp who is holding them captive. >> normally, with the craigslist type girls the pimps will actually drive them to the location and wait for them. so generally, if we can make the deal, we can get the girl, get her off the streets, get her some help, and we have the pimp right there, which is very unusual. >> and i'll be on special assignment. >> officer saleda wants the public to understand the children he sees out on the strip are slaves. >> they have to do degrading things. they get raped. they get robbed. they get murdered. and everything they get goes to these leaches, the pimps. >> tonight's operation takes place in one of oakland's most popular tourist spots. while unsuspecting families enjoy their ocean view, criminals harboring juveniles set up shop. what makes this particular area attractive to pimps? it's just a short five-minute
drive from the busiest intersection of oakland, where everyday johns know they can buy a young girl. investigators say the explosion of the internet and sites like these make buying a child as easy as ordering a pizza. men can order up precisely the hair color, age, and ethnicity of their choice. and that keeps the oakland pd's child exploitation unit hopping. >> our office is constantly ringing from san francisco all the way up to oregon and other states. we get a lot of girls from all over the place. how it works is oakland is part of the circuit. the circuit runs nationwide, oakland, san francisco, santa barbara, l.a., into like phoenix, then over to atlanta, washington, d.c., minnesota, seattle, back down to san francisco and oakland. so the pimps bring them all the ways around. >> you guys ready? >> salita says more often than not the girls have been so brutalized they're brainwashed into protecting their abuser. >> every girl we stop will tell
us she's an independent or, you know, something like that, she doesn't have a pimp. it's drilled into them to say it. that's why it's hard to put a case on these guys. they're protective of their pimps. but they don't keep a dime. >> with millions of dollars at stake, officers say more violent criminals are turning to the trafficking game. >> the drug dealers in the past were selling dope and now switched over to this because they know it's harder to get caught. it's a renewable source. you know, they don't have to buy the product. the product's already there. they're pretty much low maintenance. they don't spend a whole lot on the girls. and it's just money rolling over. >> you catch a guy with the drug. or the guy sells it to the undercover cop. when the undercover cop's picking up a young girl on the street, he's picking up the girl. she's the one that's taking the risk. and he just collects all the profit. we actually stopped one guy, and we got i think it was like 20,000-something dollars out of his sock. >> the task force warns parents that as the business becomes
more and more lucrative the tactics pimps use to lure or kidnap girls gets bold sxwrer more creative. >> they'll go to bus stations, malls. >> movie theaters. >> we've had cases where they'll have people in school and do recruiting in school and get her friends to come out with him. >> tonight's operation is designed to bust pimps who basically run a takeout service by delivering young girls from door to door. so investigators wire the decoy's room, monitor the decoy's activities -- >> it was a similar car -- >> -- and communicate with him at all times. armed officers stand by in the adjoining room while undercover squad cars surveil the area. tonight, officer jim beers plays the client in need of a young companion while his fellow officer mark is technical backup. >> i'll make the call and mark here will basically scribe. take the notes, the times, and all that stuff. >> together with fbi agent parker they cull through the ads they found on craigslist. >> and what i've done is if i have reports or whatever i've
attached them so we know who this girl is. >> okay. >> investigators say when you see an ad with a blurred face that is usually a dead give-away the girl is underage. >> because these guys have learned that the feds will get them for production and zrix of kiddie porn by placing them up on craigslist and that's 15 years mandatory minimum. >> fbi agent parker explains how they choose the juveniles they'll be contacting here tonight. >> i think i found one here. a missing girl out of redwood city here. this is the ad that i found. >> and you think that's her? >> yeah. i think there's a very good possibility it's her. >> throughout the night, agent parker cruises craigslist and points out other possible girls the officers can invite to the room. >> at first you may not see them as children because of the way they're presented or dressed and all the makeup. but if you take an actual look at them, you can still see their innocence and still see the fact that they're children. and there's a high market for them because apparently a lot of these guys think that these
underage girls are cleaner, they're prettier. they're more sought out after by the johns. >> outside there was a sudden burst of communication as officer salita spots what he thinks is a pimp with underage girls right in front of their room. >> there's three of them, actually, and they all look young, and they're kind of standing in front of your door right now, mark. >> unless you have got something to arrest him or stop him for let's ignore him and focus on the task at hand. >> for the moment, officers choose to hang back and monitor the situation. so detective beers starts making calls to the juveniles they've targeted. >> hello. hi. i'm just looking for some company tonight. okay, cool. >> where are you? >> i'm at motel 6 on embarcadero. >> hello-s jasmine there? hi, jasmine. my name's mark. i was wondering if i could have some company for tonight? all righty. i'll be waiting. >> with two possible girls coming to take the bait there is nothing left for the human decoy to do but wait.
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it's 7:00 p.m. at a popular tourist area of oakland. while unsuspecting tourists take in the sights and sounds of san francisco bay, a phalanx of undercover officers position themselves around this hotel waiting for the pimps who control and sell underage girls to deliver them to a man they think will pay for sex. what they don't know is that the john is an undercover officer for oakland's child exploitation unit and that the fbi and about a dozen officers are waiting to rescue the girl and arrest the pimp. the decoy, officer beers, says in the last two weeks they've rescued a 12-year-old and twin
13-year-old girls. >> 11 years ago when i first started you might periodically come across an underage prostitute on the track or doing one of these things. but in the past five, six years it's gotten so much worse with the, you know, craigslist and eros.com and everyone having access to computers. >> it's so lucrative that everybody and their brother wants to be a pimp these days. >> officer salita warns that the business of buying and selling young girls online is booming and that criminals will use any means necessary to acquire fresh stock. >> a pretty young girl can turn, just lowball, five tricks a night, $100 a trick, that's 500 bucks. if the guy has three girls, that's 1500 bucks a night tax-free, seven days a week. >> back in room 125, officer mark cautions the undercover officers outside to be on alert. >> just an update. we've made a few calls. >> looks like a very young hispanic female. >> she's going to call back in 20 minutes. just be aware of it. >> while the officers wait for
the juvenile to arrive, they notice a suspicious man with what looks like three underage girls checking into a room just above the sting room. then he leaves with two of the girls in his car. >> a lexus with chrome rims just passed by me. >> he's probably going to check the track too. >> officer saleda is sure he is a pimp and he's just transported two girls to a strip advertised online as a hot spot for young prostitutes. and it's just blocks from the hotel. minutes later, officers notice that the young girl they left behind is pregnant. >> there's a female pregnant, a female black pregnant, she has like a turquoise jumpsuit on. >> sergeant hogenmiller radios to say they stopped the man and two young women down the street. the man is on probation and one of the girls is just 16. he tells the team to abandon their undercover operation and move in on the other juvenile. >> open, police. open the door so we don't have to use the key. >> it appears at this point that
they were running an operation out of the hotel room up there on the balcony. >> can you step away from that for me? >> what were you doing online here? >> just talking to friends. >> on craigslist, you don't talk to friends. we're not stupid. >> you're logging on to your craigslist account? what were you doing on craigslist? >> if we did a search on that computer right now would i find craigslist postings for erotic services? tell me the truth. i would, right? >> there's two tickets from the oakland police department. loitering with intent to prostitute. >> in here the 17-year-old female is pregnant. the room smells like marijuana. very strongly of marijuana. she had her laptop computer out with craigslist up. so in a nutshell that guy was a pimp, he had three girls with them, and he dropped them off in this room to work out of. and that's where we're at right now. >> the teenage girl tells officer saleda and parker she just met jay reese, the man they suspect is her pimp. >> is he in your phone?
>> is he in my phone? he's not in my phone. >> who's daddy? >> we call, that's your real dad? call it. can you call it? >> in every girl's phone it will be daddy. it's not their real father. that's what they call the pimps. >> if anybody on the car stop hears a phone ring, let me know. >> so when i pressed that button, the pimp's phone started to ring in the car where he was stopped at. >> hey, who's this? hey, officer, how are you? >> it's listed as daddy on the phone. so you've got to take that phone as evidence. okay? all right. [ bleep ]. now do you want to go to jail? i mean, i'm trying to cut you a break. you're lying to me. daddy is not your real dad. it's the pimp we stopped in the car over there. jay reese. >> nisha, you're 17 and you're pregnant. you don't need to go to jail. especially for him. >> you need to talk to us, sweetie. we can help you. do you want a few minutes to think?
we'll give you like two or three minutes to think about it. you think about the baby. you think about this fool. you think he'd go to jail for you? not in a second. >> he'll go out and get another bitch. >> saleda, can you come down for a minute. >> coming, sarge. >> go up and see what you can get -- >> she's ready to break. >> if nothing else, we're going 272 or 273 at the least. >> the 17-year-old breaks down and tells officers the truth. she's been turning tricks for no pay for two years, and she wants out. >> we're going to take care of you, okay? how does it work? >> well, it works as i give him the best dates. they put the money under the bed and they give it to him. >> do you guys get to keep any of the money? >> no. >> no? >> are there any ads on craigslist for you? >> i'm not going to lie. yes, there are. >> what name?
>> under precious or jessica. >> when officers busted precious jessica, she was just setting up dates at the motel for the night. >> looks like our operation is going to be shut down because we're going to be dealing with two juvenile prostitutes and a couple of adult prostitutes and a couple of pimps. so before we could even do our own operation, it kind of just fell in our laps. >> while the other officers wrap the first operation, flanisha asks saleda to delete the pimp she calls daddy off her phone. >> before i give it back to you? oh, yeah. hi, ma'am. this is officer saleda with the oakland police department. >> he calls her family. >> there's a young lady here. we're going to have an officer take you to your mom's house. okay? >> what we did set out to do was entice some -- a pimp to bring the girl here. and what eventually happened is it appears the pimp was already here with the girls. and so it worked out all the better.