According to Lieutenant Ken Dean, the gang members targeted runaways and girls in otherwise unstable homes. If the girls refused to cooperate, they were beaten and sexually assaulted. The gang would also threaten the girls' families. Detectives have found five victims ranging from 12 to 16 years of age, but they suspect there are more.
"The age of the victims and suspects is the surprising part of it," Dean said."To have such young individuals in a somewhat organized business, a forced prostitution ring, is somewhat alarming and such a horrendous crime against the 12- to 16-year-old girls."This tragic story further illustrates the trend of violence against women growing younger and younger. In November, The Big Picture brought you the story of two boys ages 8 and 9 who were charged with raping an 11 year old girl. We also talked to you about the growing epidemic of forced pregnancy as an abusive tactic used by teen boys.
In March 2006, Liz Claiborne Inc. commissioned a study on violence within teen dating relationships. The results, reported by The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, are not encouraging.
The results show that alarming numbers of teens experience and accept abusive behavior in dating relationships. Many teens also feel physically and sexually threatened.These revelations concerning violent behaviors illuminates the urgency of our message. If not for ourselves, then for our children, society must take a clear stand that domestic violence will not be tolerated.
-1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
-1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they've been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.
-1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say their boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.
-Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship (23%) reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.