Last week teenage gang members were arrested in Fort Worth, TX in connection with a forced prostitution ring that victimized girls as young as 12. The Star-Telegram reports that seven people have been arrested in connection with the case, five of whom are juveniles.
The Associated Press reports that, according to Fort Worth police Lt. Ken Dean the gang targeted runaways and girls from unstable homes. First befriending the girls, gang members later beat and sexually assaulted them, threatening their families if the girls refused to prostitute themselves. Police have found five victims, ranging in age from 12 to 16. They believe there may be more victims. The girls they did find are either back with relatives or in other safe places.
“The age of the victims and suspects is the surprising part of it,” Lt. Dean told the Associated Press. “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.”