Arkansas teen sex-trafficking bust hits home

Two Arkansas teens have been rescued from an alleged sex trafficker in Maryland

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Two Arkansas teens have been rescued from an alleged sex trafficker in Maryland.

Howard County, Maryland Police have charged 39-year-old Charlton Jeanpierre with trafficking two Arkansas teens.

Jeanpierre is from California, and was caught after someone saw him dragging one of the girls out of a car in Ellicott City, Maryland, over 1,000 miles from Arkansas. The man was carrying a lot of cash, both girls' IDs and condoms.

One of the girls told police that Jeanpierre drove them to appointments for sex.

Police have not released the girls' identities and are investigating how they were lured by Jeanpierre, and if the suspect is part of a larger trafficking ring.

"They're lured in sometimes with empty promises”, explains Louise Allison, a victim of human trafficking, who now runs PATH, an organization that helps other victims. She says social media is the number one venue for buying, selling, and trapping girls.

"They are smooth talking; giving the girl the best deal ever, and that looks good compared to the trouble she's having now. So many of our girl say they were having problems at home or I just broke up with a guy, or my friend told me about this great place, and that's how they get trapped.”

When we first reported this story, many of our followers on social media wondered if the victims were Ebby Steppach, or Cassie Compton; both missing from Arkansas. But these girls weren't even reported missing.

"There are hundreds of thousands of girls that are missing, that haven't been reported missing, they are girls that have been moved through the foster care system, and they just get lost in the count," said Allison.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 74 percent of likely sex trafficking victims were in the care of social services or foster care when they went missing; a statistic that didn't surprise State Representative and foster parent, David Meeks.

"They make things look good, whether it's love, friendship, or money and then once they get into them, they trap them with force; by threatening, or saying ' we're not going to let you out' or 'it will cost you your life or the life of someone you love."

The police in Maryland and back here at home say they haven't yet connected Jeanpierre to the sex trafficking rings busted here in Central Arkansas recently, but aren't ruling out the possibility that he had contacts in Arkansas.


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