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tv   Maximum Drama  MSNBC  December 2, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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thanks to officer carol, jeter is alive and well another person safe by a brave decision to do what needed to be done. now on "maximum drama", our sunday feature. >> on the streets of chicago and all across america, the business of sex for sale is booming. fueled by the internet. >> this is not a problem that just happens in another country. >> we have girls from texas. we have girls come from minnesota. girls come from iowa. >> so what am i going to this be
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under arrest for? >> prostitution. >> in a world where girls and young women take all the risk pimps and traffickers keep all the cash. >> it's not physical bondage. it's mental bondage. this is what traffickers and pimps and predators do. >> tonight msnbc goes undercover with the cook account human trafficking force as they battle the buyers and sellers of sex and reach out to rescue the young and the lost trapped in chicago's underground sex trade. hi. i'm jeff rossen and this episode of "maximum drama" goes undercover inside the world of sex trafficking in america. as you're about to see, it is a
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punishing world where the young women and girls say they live invisible lives. yet the industry can easily be found in any american city. natalie morales has been reporting on this story for years. go with her now to chicago. rising from the shores of lake michigan, the skyline of chicago sparkles and soar ls. but beyond the glittering facade of glass and steel, lies a city at the crossroads of america's underground sex trade. >> relax, okay sweetie? >> okay. >> don't be nervous or anything okay? >> tonight police find this young woman selling sex in a hotel room more than 600 miles away from her home in arkansas. local authorities say it's an all too common occurrence in the windy city. >> it doesn't happen here in our own backyard. in cook county chicago, it's a transportation hub. it's a convention hub. and it's right for this type of crime. illinois state attorney anita
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alvarez heads up the cook county human trafficking force. a joint effort to combat the booming underground sex trade in chicago and the surrounding suburbs. >> do your parents know where you are? >>. >> i think we're really not going to get anywhere or make a dent into the crime unless we as local prosecutors do more. >> in 2011 the illinois safe child act became law in the land. giving local police and prosecutors a new set of investigative tools to identify and rescue trafficking victims, provide them with social services, and punish the pimps who exploit them. >> i would like people to think about this could be their daughter. >> cook county sheriff tom dart commands the task force and the field. he says that part of his job includes changing the public's misperception about the girls and young women who work the streets of chicago. >> every single one of these girl is at one point was someone's little child. at one point was held in
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someone's arms and thought this child is going to be something. at one point that child actually thought that they might be something. so these are real humans that are no different than our children, and the reason that they're doing what they're doing now has a long history, and it's an ugly history, and people need to understand that. you okay now? >> the task force in cook county is one of the more aggressive local law enforcement efforts aimed at both rescuing trafficked women and arresting the traffickers and johns who exploit them. >> what's going on at the hotels? we good? >> special operation leaders mike anton takes the lead. >> we do prostitution stings. our goal is to try to find the girls that are being trafficked and are being pimped out on the internet. dom already has got a couple of dates. he's got one date set up. we're also going a sting where we answer the ads and go out to them. we're also going to post ads of
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our own. >> today's operation is comprehensive, tapping on both the supply and the demand side of the sex for sale equation and focusing primarily on the digital street corner that is >> first of all, there's hundreds of sites out there. back backpage has taken a hit because they're the largest. they're making millions of dollars off that. they know what's going on. they've acknowledged what's going on. they're not going to make an effort to stop it because they're making so much money. >> the cook county task force also includes crisis counselors like brenda powell a former prostitute, who now works the other side of the street reaching out and offering guidance to girls and young women trapped in the life. >> in the 25 years i was in prostitution, i've been shot five times, stabbed over 13 times, beat kidnapped, held against my will all those things happen when you're in prostitution. every time you go out there and somebody pulls a s as a gun to your
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head or something like that your chances get lessened. you know what i mean? i understand where they come from. i understand who these women are. so who better to sit down and talk with them than someone who has been there. that's what i've done. >> it's a little after 1:00 p.m. when the task force sets up in a hotel near o'hare airport. this strip of hotels and motels is a well known hot spot for the business of sex for sale in cook county. male undercovers in one room begin making contact with women advertising sex for sale on >> hi cherry. this is tim. i'm looking at your ad on backpage and hoping you're available some time today. would you be willing to come to me? >> meanwhile in a room across the hall, female undercovers post fake ads for sex and lure johns into the hotel. >> you going to come visit me? what time are you looking at? okay. i charge $90 for a full service for one hour.
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is that okay with you? he's calling for a date for tonight. wants to know if i do greek which is a common term for anal sex. okay, i can't wait to see you. >> female undercovers make contact with an eager john. >> right now. he's going to be here in two minutes. meanwhile ha male undercover in the room across the hall also has a subject on the way. >> you're not the police right? that's why i want to give you my number. it don't want a bunch of dudes kicking in my door. >> the team scrambles to prepare for two simultaneous takedowns. >> you guys good? >> yeah, we're good. >> let me know. >> it's always feast or famine. we'll have nothing. we'll put the ads on. in the space of an hour we have five people show up. it's critical we take him down we bring him in here immediately. >> arresting officers huddle in the next room. eyeballing the john's approach in the hallway, and waiting for a hit on the panic pager to signal that the deal for sex has
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been made. [ pager beeping ] >> get your hands out of your pocket. you're under arrest. >> the stunned john is quickly cuffed and hustled into a processing room. >> get him out of here quick. >> while officers reset the trap for a call girl who is only homes away. >> police. police. what's going on in here? >> have a seat on the bed. all right. we're the police. okay. just so you know. you're under arrest. >> okay. >> okay. >> the team now has two in the bag, and their operation has only just begun. >> i don't think we should get in trouble for this at all. >> it's what they want to do. i don't have anything to say about it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion
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get your hands out of your pocket. you're under arrest. >> investigators with the cook county undercover task force are conducting undercover prostitution stings in a hotel near oh air airport. the team quickly makes two arrest that illustrates both sides of the sex for sale equation. >> have a seat in this chair for me, all right. a 55-year-old john is snared on the first trap and a 27-year-old call girl is arrested just
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moments later. >> police. police. detectives want to know more about the young woman's situation to see if she's in physical danger or in need of social services. but first they must -- the john. a married man on his way home from work. the john seems to be on the verge of tears. he tells police that today is his first time buying sex. once arrested police say a man like this has only one concern, keeping his wife in the dark about his so-called experiment. >> is she going to find out? >> well they have a lot to lose. most are married. most have children. they're doing this. of course they're going to say it's the first time. there's no way it's their first time. most people don't get caught the first time doing anything wrong. they're all apologetic and sorry. but they're sorry they got
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caught. in cook county the law gives onjohns a choice. fight the case in court or pay a steep fine and have the arrest wiped from their record. we tow their car, it's another 500. it ends up being about $1,170. the money that we get from the fine goes to the women justice relief. >> if you wind up paying you come here. >> and these guys all the way pay within 24 hours cash. >> in keeping with the county's request for discretion, we have agreed to obscure the identities of the johns arrested today. >> it is what it is. i don't judge. i've had decisions with the men that we've brought into custody. it's abundantly clear to me that they certainly don't come around our area anymore. we do it so often that a lot of people are thinking twice about what they're doing. it's not worth the downside of
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having their entire life thrown out there. >> in the two years since cook county police started slapping fines on johns, they have generated more than $100,000 for the womens justice program and have yet to reencounter a repeat offender. detectives now turn their attention to the woman in custody. we'll call her jenny. a resident of minnesota, jenny tells police she's been in chicago for about a month. >> how did you get here? >> a friend dropped me off. >> police suspect jenny may be trafficked, but she's reluctant to open up about her situation. >> how many dates did you have today? just one. >> how many you got planned to do? >> none. >> i'm not going to trick you into saying anything. we're trying to ascertain if you need any help. that's what we're trying to do. we can put you in touch with people to help you out. simple, right? you got any kids?
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>> one. >> learning the woman has left a 3-year-old son behind in minnesota. and that she travels a lot. >> i've been everywhere. vegas, chicago, detroit, texas. >> details may deepen his suspicion that he's being trafficked. >> i'm 27. i like to live life. >> in order to live a life you have to have a job. people have a misconception. if you're not coming from out of the country, china, thailand or something else then you're not a victim of trafficking. you're being trafficked. when is the last time you saw your son? how long ago was that? the manipulation is so great a lot of the pimps won't be in the state. we have girls from texas, girls come from minnesota, girls come from iowa. they won't be in the state. which would lead you to believe, how could you be that manipulated. but the girls may have something hanging over their head. a lot of the pimps will get them
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pregnant. they have the pregnant. now the baby is with his people or his parents. now continue get out. you're worried about the baby. they'll use it as coercion. you're going to have to talk to someone. to help people like yourself. with over 20,000 women being sold for sex across chicago land, sheriff tom dart realized arrests and jail time did nothing to extend the revolving door of women flooding the system. >> we saw someone arrested for prostitution and they would be back on the street before police filled out the paper work. literally by the time you were done, they didn't go home for the night, they would go back to the street again. >> my name is brenda. your name is --? >> in 2008 sheriff dart started hiring koun counselors to help women ge out of the life. >> the hardest thing is to see
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them as victims. >> you never had a pimp? >> no. >> brenda is not just a counselor, she's a former prostitute with 25 years in the game. even though jenny admits nothing, brenda can tell she's being pimped out. >> and the girlfriend and the girlfriend's kids and the girlfriend's man. that's not a normal relationship. that's how i used to live with my pimp and my wife-in-laws. with e all lived with him. >> you can benefit from kicking it with me. >> in the jargon of the underground sex trade. wife-in-laws are the women working in the pimp stable. the pimp is the daddy and the whole group, including children is called family. >> i know how the game goes. i was in the gang for 25 years. i know it ain't easy to get up out the game. a huge rule is not to snitch. a huge rule is not talk about what goes on in the family. any systems that come at her trying to damage the family system is an enemy.
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i can help you get a job for now brenda can see jenny is not willing to take the help offered. but she will open a lifeline for jenny if and when she's ready to change her life. >> one thing i leave them with i don't care what happens tonight, later on give me a call. just let me know you're okay. i do get calls from all over the country. they'll say hey, remember me? you talked to me at that place. i know it's late but you got a minute? and i have to take a minute to listen to her. that's something that no one is doing. no one is listening. but i do. i will listen. >> do your parents know where you are?
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>> no they don't know where i'm at. i've been on my own since i was like 17. >> oh, okay. ♪ ♪ ...could end with adding a close friend. the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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it's just after 2:00 p.m. in chicago and as the mercury outside rises to 98 action inside heats up for cook county investigators. >> hi, how you doing? >> the woman prepares to move in on a woman advertising herself as an out of town special. >> i was hoping you were available for a date this morning. >> the veteran plays decoy and secures a date. >> i'm going to head that way. i'm probably 10 minutes for there. >> the out of town target a self proclaimed hot tee whose ad offers men pleasure for the night for $160 an hour. >> 90 west. >> working as backup officer bob follows decoy dan to an undisclosed location.
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>> all right. i'm just going to follow you. >> detective bob explains this as a more complicated game of cat and mouse. the seller of sex is completely in charge. >> they tell you a general vicinity where they want you to go. you get to this that spot or intersection and you have to recontact them. then they will give you the hotel that they're out. >> the call girls don't give up the precise location for two reasons. one it ensures the john is close, and two it gives pimps or women time to check them out. >> room 327. she's watching out the window. she saw me pull in. 327. >> within minutes of arriving at the hotel, dan signals that a deal for sex has been made. alexis has offered oral sex and intercourse in exchange for $250. >> we're coming in. >> officers quickly i.d. alexis
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sweets as 21-year-old from california. >> and you're on backpage right? you posted yourself? >> yes, sir. >> with the click of a mouse, internet website backpage makes it possible for this internet college student to sell herself 2,000 miles from home. >> you're under arrest for prostitution. we're going to take you in. >> calm and cooperative, she claims she operates alone. >> how are you posting? >> either posting on that computer or have my best friend post from her my iphone or post from my iphone. >> a quick search of the internet reveals thanks to backpage alex sirkss sweets say has backed a lot of miles. >> how did you get this money? >> some i already had. >> we're going to count it all right?
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>> sheriff dart says back page knows all too well that their site is used by pimps and traffickers, not just people looking for massages. >> we have arrested -- i don't know. upward of 500 people. they've all been response to ads about massages and the like, and guess what every single one of them have been prostitutes. now come on. i couldn't conceivably be that lucky that i get all the prostitutes. i keep missing the masseuses. >> before officers transport chenile to lockup they tear her to prepare for a long day in jail. it's clear this california girl knows the drill. this is her third arrest in two years. >> we're all set. come here. >> while being cuffed she wonders aloud if other women selling sex in the hotel will also be arrested. >> you know who they are? >> i don't know who they are. i dated a guy who said that there was a girl upstairs.
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>> yeah? >> they're like older women, i guess. >> do your parents know where you are? >> no they don't know where i'm at. they know what i do though. i've been on my own since i was like 17. >> during her walk of shame across the hotel parking lot, she plays the cool customer. but on the ride to lock up she begins to tell police an all too familiar story. struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage she was lured into prostitution by a smooth talking romeo pimp. >> well he lied though. he shoeld sold me a dream and said he would make sure i have everything that i need. >> they promise you everything. in reality you get nothing. >> you get nothing. i made 20,000 almost $30,000 for him. she says after being beaten badly by her pimp in los angeles, she ran and has been on her own for over a year. >> a lot of times the girls start working, and then the pimp approaches them on the street. well in her case she's claiming that she never worked before.
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dan finds her story especially tragic. >> if a girl chose to work and she's out there working, she eventually gets picked up by a pimp, that's terrible. the girls that never worked before and they start working because they get recruited, those are the worst. >> while dan heads out to play decoy, she will lose her call girl cool and get a much needed reality check. >> have a seat. come here. >> i'm due like next week. >> she's due next week.
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if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. i'm milissa rehberger, here's what's happening. speaker of the house john boehner said he was flabbergasted by the white house
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fiscal cliff proposal. it's now up to republicans to make the next move. tomorrow, colorado, texas and tennessee will add 300 hours of learning time in some schools starting in 2013 eitherer by longer days or longer school years. now back to "maximum drama." you can find more about every documentary we run by going online to you'll see web extras and you can click on schedules for complete listings and descriptions for complete information on our lineup. you can check out any title that catches your eye. now back to our story. >> every day in america tens of
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thousands of people go online looking to buy and sell sex. >> yes. are you calling for a date? >> but sometimes the voice on the other end of the line is an undercover cop. >> it's river and lawrence. >> investigators for the cook county human trafficking task force are in route to a location where an undercover officer has arranged a date for sex with a woman doing calls from her motel room. >> once the officer is inside the room with the girl he'll make the deal. we'll go to the room. he'll let us in and then we'll arrest the girl for prostitution. >> police say this particular motel near the airport is particularly used as a rendezvous for buyers and sellers of sex. >> we just got texts now that he's going to room 307. we'll give him a couple minutes to get up there. >> inside room 307 the undercover has just made a deal for sex in exchange for $200.
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>> you have no identification right? >> you sure. >> the young woman has no identification, but she tells detectives that she's been arrested for prostitution before, and she tells our producer that she doesn't understand what haul the fuss is about. >> i don't think we should get in trouble for this at all. like if my boyfriend gives me money and buys me stuff, i don't see a reason why a stranger can't do that. so, it would be the same thing to me. that's it. >> even when you arrest the girls, a lot of times they're so well trained, especially the young ones to talk about it's my boyfriend. talk about the pimp or there's no force involved. when you start peeling back the layers, you find abuse. you find this person is a victim of trafficking. >> detectives have finishing up at the motel when they notice a curious couple hanging around room 307 and watching them work. police suspect the pair may be connected to the girl in custody, so they decide to introduce themselves. have a seat for a minute. come here come here. gl the woman has no
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identification, but she tells police she's 21 and lives in the neighboring state of wisconsin. police learn she is nine months pregnant and has a prior arrest for prostitution. >> how much months pregnant are you? >> i'm due like next week. >> she's due next week. >> the couple denies any wrong doing today and police are unable to connect them to the earlier arrest in room 307. once the male is identified he's free to go but police can't release the young woman until she's identified. >> is that your boyfriend who you were walking with? >> yeah. a friend of mine. i'm not in a room. >> the woman jenna heck is uncooperative but was arrested for prostitution a month ago. the manager says she's been at the motel for 23 days. >> what room is she staying in? >> 208. >> i don't have a key. >> who is up in 208. >> it's not my room. >> there's no proof that jenna is selling sex today, but police say there is actually a high
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dollar demand for sex with pregnant women. >> and that's what they're kind of into. i don't see it. but eh. >> i'm not lying. >> what else did you get arrested for? >> the young woman is eventually identified by the record of her previous arrest for prostitution. >> i'll meet you guys back over there. and you're pregnant so don't be doing anything you're not supposed to do. >> police offer her a chance to speak with a women crisis counselor from the justice program, but she declines and she is free to go. >> okay. so what time are you looking at? >> back at the hotel, it's a little after 4:00 p.m. when business begins to pick up. >> guys are getting off work now. they're looking for maybe something to do before they go home. you know, you can check us out, and then we can go from there. follow your lead. >> female undercovers have an unsuspecting john on the line. >> he's in the parking lot. >> now all they have to do is reel him in.
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turn around. turn around. turn around. put your hands behind your back. put your hands behind your back. >> inside the room police find a big bear of a man with alcohol on his breath. detectives say he was hoping to party with all three women, but now the party is over. >> if you haven't noticed, we're running a prostitution sting right now. >> a resident of indiana, the man tells police he's in town on business. detectives say they see his kind all the time. >> businessmen, doctors, lawyers, you know career guys. >> and we've looked at the demographics. it's across the board. all right. we got a guy coming up, guys. economics doesn't make a difference. race doesn't make a difference. >> turn around. >> police you're under arrest. >> age doesn't make a difference. from 18 all the way to i think it was 74 years old. we arrested one guy last year. 74 years old. he's looking for sex from an undercover girl.
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the guy got out of bypass surgery two weeks ago and he's out looking for a girl. >> sex saleells, you know. men think about it all the time. it's the matter in which they're going to attain it. >> they don't seem to care. a lot of them are married. most have families. most are businessmen. think all have jobs. they come and want to have a good time with someone in private and something discreet and no one is going to know about it. >> the salmon is going upstream. >> police say that most johns don't think too deeply about all the consequences of buying sex until they get caught. >> police. let me see your hands. >> they're looking for one thing. obviously a guy is going to pay for sex, he's looking for that. he's looking for sex. they don't see the ramifications of paying someone and they don't see the outcome of a traffic victim. they don't -- i don't think they want to look at that. >> want to walk with me? >> sure. >> if they realize what's going on in this girl's life her
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background, the physical and emotional abuse she's getg from the pimp i think they would have a different understanding of what it is. >> and while police may not be able to make johns feel the pain of women trapped in the underground sex trade, they can make them feel the pain deep in their own wallets. this is a nice wallet. is this leather? this is nice. >> it became clear in certain areas of town people looking for prostitutes, they better not go there, there's a strong possibility it might be us. if it is we have a whole menu of things we can and will do to you, starting with really making you poor. >> this is the fine. this is if you decide you don't want to pay the fine okay. >> so i think collectively we've driven down the demand in certain areas. >> you just go home. >> in addition a lot of people dragging in to fund all of our programs to try to help the women who have been victimized. >> the average prostitute turns five to six, maybe ten tricks a
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before we return to our story, a production note. filmmaker grace con told us that during the sting operation, many of the women complained of being hungry. cook county investigators say that pimps and traffickers deliberately deprive women of food and sleep in order to keep them under control. con says the first step to rescuing women means offering them food and a safe place to sleep. >> put your hands behind your back. >> clearly the party is over tonight for these men seeking sex for sale. but across metro chicago, day or night, men continue to order
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girls to go with a simple click of a mouse. from anal sex to oral sex to three on one, investigators say women and underage girls are sold on websites. >> the entire world exists so they can have a place to sell women. i'm fed up and i'm tired and this is going to stop. >> in 2009 cook county sheriff tom dart was part of the legal effort to stop down the erotics services section of craigslist. >> just calling to see if you have anything available for today. >> now his troops are taking aim at backpage which he says makes millions from the misery of others. >> if we have a website that puts on hits for spouses. well, we're not putting on the hits for the spouses. we just set up the website. we are then telling law enforcement. yeah, the problem is by the time we get there, the people are all dead already. so we rather you take the
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website down. i mean, come on. >> the cook county task force wants americans to know that online websites keep traffic women ensnared in a cycle of perpetual violence. >> they went crazy. this dude put me in a choke hold. >> while most view them as young individuals making bad choisces, brenda howell sees these women as the walking wounded, in desperate need of the public's empathy and intervention. >> i have girls say it feels like someone is using the bathroom inside of me. the average prostitute turns five to six, maybe ten tricks a day, right? if you calculate five times 365, how many men has she slept with? over 1,800 men. how much trauma a is that for her? >> i know about prostitution. i was a prostitute for 25 years. you have no idea what you're in for. brenda's own hard life lessons
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make her the perfect lifeline for girls and young women in crisis. >> in the beginning of my prostitution escorts and strip clubs, only the best. and at the end of the road i was turning tricks on a street corner for $20. >> like many women who fall into prostitution brenda's own sexual experience began with rape as a child. >> being molested since i was 4 or 5 years old, constantly happening in the households that i lived in from my grandmother to my aunt's house. every time i thought i was safe i was never safe. >> raised by an alcoholic grandmother in housing projects on chicago's west side her first exposure to prostitution was right outside her front door. >> me being 9 years old, living in a community where prostitutes work in front of our window and looking toutd inging out the window
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of the prostitutes and getting in and out of cars with shiny dresses on and being very beautiful and asking grandmother, what are those women doing? and she says they take their panties off and getting money. and me being related to this that because men have been taking my panties off. >> brenda says at 14 her grandmother encouraged her to sell herself in order to add money to the family purse. >> 1973 good friday i proceeded to march on downtown to the coast and stood on that corner, and that night i made over $400. and those guys knew that i was a minor. they knew that i was young. they paid me more because i was young. >> after 25 years of surviving exploitation and violence brenda was forced out of the life after a brutal attack by a john almost killed her. >> i get in a car with a customer who began to beat me up to take his money back after we got through, and i tried to get out of the car to get away from him, and he started his car up
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and was driving off, and as i tried to get away from him, my clothes caught hold to the door and he drug me for six blocks and tore all the skin off my body, my face. >> disfigured and near death, brenda was taken to cook county hospital. there she says she was pushed to the back of the line for treatment because she was a prostitute. >> i felt worthless. i felt that even people who were supposed to help me who had took an oath to help people, didn't want to help a prostitute. i wanted to die. >> now married with a family of her own, brenda says she is living proof that working girls like chenile can turn their lives around with help and support. >> chenile, you are a beautiful, special girl. >> i can look in her eyes. i can talk to her. i can understand what she's feeling because i've been there. and the questions that come from me are not like the questions that come from police.
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>> it takes just a few minutes for brenda to crack chanel's tough girl act. >> i don't remember what i was like before this. i have no idea. i didn't remember my personality or anything like that. >> wow. >> that's the worst part about it. i won't ever be the same. i'm a different person. you know what i mean? i know how bad it is. like i know some girls probably say they are not on drugs. after meeting so many other girls that get down i'm one of the smarter ones. i'm one of the smarter ones you know. i know that this is ridiculous. i never was meant to be a ho. >> today brenda devotes her time to helping women make the same choice she did, to leave the life. >> give me a hug. >> her goal make a human connection and give women hope that there is a way out. >> give me a real hug. that was a fake hug.
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>> so thex time the women are thrown a lifeline, they just might take it. >> thank you for talking to me. >> if i take prostitution away from you, i have to offer you everything in place of that. and when i say everything i'm talking about a place to stay, food, clothing all of your basic human needs have to be met. they need to feel safe. >> relax, okay sweetie. >> okay. >> don't be nervous or anything okay. >> can i just ask you, are you being trafficked. >> it's all mine. it's all my money. >> you sure? >> yes.
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now the conclusion of "sex slaves chicago" and, remember every msnbc doc is up to date any time it runs. i'm jeff rossen. >> as nightfalls in chicago, the day's stifling heat gives way to thunder and lightning and a cold hard rave is flushing the streets. >> how you doing? >> okay. >> put your clothes on sweetie. >> today's investigation by the cook county human task force continues to find women all across america. >> what m agoing to be under arrest for? >> for prostitution. >> we had a girl from minute society, a girl from wisconsin. only one girl here from chicago. that says a lot for the girls
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that are not staying in one location. >> the team is about to packet it in when they get one last visit by a woman hoping to trade sex for cash. >> don't get nervous or anything? >> 23-year-old jessica is more than 600 miles away from her home in arkansas. >> is this all you had on? >> yes. >> this high school graduate tells police that this is her first run-in with the law. >> have you ever been arrested before? >> no. >> never for anything? >> no. >> really? >> really. >> how long have you been working? >> not that long. >> how long have you been in town? >> three weeks. >> where are you staying? >> at a friend's house. >> among her belongings, she finds condoms and receipts for stays in high-end hotels and more than $500 in cash. they suspect she may be trafficked but she insists that she is acting alone. >> can i just ask you, are you being trafficked or is the money
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going --? >> it's all mine. >> are you sure? >> yes. it's my decision. >> when asked about the plight of other women, jessica says it's simply a matter of freewill. >> it's what they want to do. >> the majority of those women were being controlled. they would never tell you that but i hear things that a lot of times in interviews that other people don't hear. >> come on. have a seat. >> while jessica is noncompliant, another young woman opens up to brenda revealing she is in crisis. >> i don't want to be on tv. if anyone cease my face i can get killed. >> okay. because i don't know what is going on but i can feel you. >> the 22-year-old says she's been working for a pimp from new york who despite his distance controls her every move. >> the guy you're with now, how
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did you meet him, your pimp? >> through his, i don't know what you call second in command, his wife. >> she was recruited by a woman in new york. she met me and i had like $20 to my name and i didn't know how i was going to make rent. >> and she said she knew what she was doing was not right but she could not get out of it because she would not have a pot to piss in if she didn't have prostitution. she had family but her family gave up on her a long time ago. >> i've never been able to ask anybody for help, ever since i was 13 doing whatever. i was not able to keep up the charade with my parent pretending to be a christian, pretending to be straight and by the time i went to college everything fell apart. >> the daughter of missionaries, anna dropped out of college and hopped a plane to america hoping to find work with a modeling agency in new york.
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but what she found instead turned out to be a trafficking operation. >> and they flew you out to cali, got your hair done put you on a website and they've been prostituting you out ever since? >> uh-huh. >> do you get any of the money? >> only what i hide, when i can. >> the woman was calling her and threatening her, we're watching you. you can't move. we have people that will come and get you. >> she's absolutely clinically insane. i thought she was going to kill me. she sent me 27 text messages saying that she's going to kill me. >> that's the brain that they have to have you brainwashed so you don't go right? been there, done that. okay? >> after 25 years in the game brenda knows all too well how hard it is for girls like anna to walk away from their pimss. >> a lot of people think this is something that they settle for
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that. actually, these women are in survival mode. >> i'm just tired of being scared all the time. >> you don't have any peripheral vision. it tells that these people are right here and this is what i see and this is who i am and i can't get away. >> do you want to be with this pimp? >> i hate him. >> it's not physical bondage. it's mental bondage. if somebody can control your mind, they can control you. this is what traffickers and pimps and predators do. they control you mentally. >> i don't want anyone to find you, okay? you hear me? but i can get you somewhere very safe. you hear me? where you will be safe where you'll be protected, where no one will bother you. listen, this is what i do for a living, okay? >> at least for tonight, anna's traffickers have met their match
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in brenda powell. >> i cannot sleep if i let you go back there, you understand? >> her life lessons ringing loud and clear. at last, anna sees a genuine opportunity to get away from her pimp and agrees to take reverend few for girls and young women struggling to get away from prostitution. >> give me a hug. you not going anywhere. sometimes i believe that things happen for a reason and it's divine intervention and i feel that's what just happened right now. >> brenda says there's no guarantees that today's intervention will turn anna's life around but at least for tonight anna will be safe and warm securing shelter from the storm of the underground sex trade. >> we're trying to find that piece of them
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