Fighting Sex Trafficking In St. Louis High Schools
(KTVI) – Kimberly Ritter helps rescue sex slaves through a group called the Healing Action Network. She and I met about my findings of possible suburban pimps and it took us to places we both least expected.
Ritter said, “A month ago when we met, I was focused on the victims. I was focused on where trafficking was happening in St. Louis. What I wasn’t focused on was the pimps going into the high schools, contacting the students.”
She found a potential pimp in the Facebook friends of the first child she checked.
Ritter, “So it’s a very, very quick realization as to how many girls and boys are actually putting themselves in danger and don’t really know how these things are affiliated with the sex trade.”
She’s preparing to ask St. Charles and Lincoln County schools if she can warn their students. She explained, “We absolutely have to go and make sure that these kids are informed and that they stand against it.”
Some FOX 2 viewers have questioned how girls can be coerced into prostitution. Former hooker Katie Rhoades explained that the pimps look at kids as easy targets, because teenagers… “have something that they’re searching for. It could take you just being mad at your Mom when you’re 13 years old and be like ‘I’m running away’ and going down to the bus stop for the bus stop for an hour. If you’re in that state and somebody walks up to you at the bus stop… It can be that quick. And once you’re in, it’s really hard to get out.”
Rhoades says she believed the same lies the pimps reportedly told Lincoln County High School girls. A life in the music industry. She didn’t realize the musician was a pimp.
Rhoades, “They try to do it very quickly so you don’t have time to really think about it. You don’t have time to go talk to your friends about it to get your opinion or talk to your parents.”
She says every pimp sets a different trap. Then Rhoades figured out the musician was really a pimp. She was scared to leave and she justified becoming a sex slave because her father needed money to fight cancer.
Rhoades said, “Pimps look for specific things. There’s not a type per say, but when things started to click for me is when I started to be taught how to recruit. I was being taught how to pick up girls, what to look for and that’s when it changed for me. That’s when something started clicking of like, oh goodness that’s how they got me.”
So she chose to rescue girls rather than trap them. Rhoades now partners with Ritter in the Healing Action Network.
As we revealed in our original investigation, Tiffany Piper was one of those girls who did reportedly turn from a prostitute into a recruiter. Police busted her for selling two 17-year-old Lincoln County High School girls.
Watch Chris Hayes first story on Sex Trafficking: Pimps Luring Suburban High School Girls Into Sex Slavery