Lost Youth: The Teenage Sex Trade
Blade reporters investigate the state of the teenage sex trade in Toledo.
Crackdown exposes Toledo as hub of teen prostitution: (1/8/06) If the brutal world of teenage prostitution were a legitimate business, Toledo would be among its top employment agencies. It has supplied top management iron-fisted pimps who demanded worker productivity and loyalty. It has supplied middle management adult hookers under orders to beat discipline into underearning or renegade prostitutes. And, most shocking of all, Toledo supplied the product girls as young as 12, sometimes kidnapped, always sold for sex.
Buffie Rae's slaying leaves mom with few answers: (1/8/06) At a desolate truck stop outside Indianapolis last spring, the body of Buffie Rae Brawley lay on the abandoned expanse of empty pavement. Partly disrobed and spread-eagle on her back, the body of the onetime Toledoan bore the signs of her killer's cruel handiwork. He'd tightened the ligatures around her wrists and ankles so they sliced into her flesh. He'd pressed the duct tape over her face so that she couldn't breathe. Then her killer had bashed her head until her skull split. At a memorial service days later, friends of her mother gave hugs and comforting words. But they could not give Nadine Fechtner what she really wanted: answers.
Captive teenage cousins suffer crash course in forced sex trade: (1/9/06) Tire iron in hand, an enraged man charged toward a southwest Toledo house. He did not know what might be behind the front door -- guns, weapons, or even a man as angry as he. He did know he wasn't leaving until he got what he came for. Tired of waiting for the Toledo police, he was still reeling from what Michigan cops had told him just an hour ago. Pimps, hookers, beatings, forced sex, and captive teens. Shouting, he pounded on the door. "Give me my daughter!"
Dots on sex-trade picture largely went unconnected: (1/10/06) The problem with pimps is they're so good at their jobs. They have a radarlike ability to spot vulnerable young girls, and they're masters at setting up prostitution rings so sophisticated that local police rarely notice. A federal indictment unsealed last month revealed a subculture of brutality, high profit, and low regard for the lives of girls as young as 12. Dave Bauer, an assistant U.S. attorney in Toledo, called the 102-page document "a pretty damning manifesto of what's been going on here."
Reports of runaways end up at bottom of investigation pile: 911 AUDIO (2/12/06) It's hard to surprise a veteran police sergeant, but the hooker who was waiting to talk with Lou Vasquez did just that. "Oh, my God, this girl -- I looked at her, and you could tell: Yeah, she's 14." She was a runaway. Caught by police, she casually described sex acts she'd traded for money, sex videos she'd made with a 29-year-old man, and other teen girls doing the same. That was in January, 2000. It was five more years before federal investigators, in unrelated cases, broke up an alleged ring that included 16 Toledo men and women charged with recruiting local young girls as prostitutes for truck stops and rest areas across the country.
Harrisburg area proved profitable for pimps, prostitutes from Toledo: (3/19/06) Prostitutes in this south-central section of Pennsylvania -- where interstates cross and johns and hookers connect for $40 sex -- knew the cost of doing business: $418.50. A money order worked best in court. Have it ready, pay quickly, get back to work. Many of the “workers” were teens, and nearly all came from 420 miles away: Toledo. When it comes to prostitution in Harrisburg, said one FBI intelligence analyst, “Toledo is everywhere.”
Investigation heralds new era in prostitution fight: PODCAST INTERVIEW (3/19/06) April McSwain was a 14-year-old Bowsher High School freshman when she stepped off the Greyhound bus in Harrisburg, Pa. The man who would become her pimp was waiting for her. She was on her first "date" within hours: "I don't really remember being scared." Five days later, she was arrested. When authorities found out her true age, they put her on a plane home. That was 1995. A decade later, a federal prosecutor called Harrisburg the nation's most lucrative destination for prostitutes and pimps -- and Toledo had the market cornered.
Police stings curtail prostitution at Harrisburg-area truck stops: (3/20/06) At a cluster of truck stops 20 miles southwest of here known as "The Miracle Mile," Les Freehling doesn't mind being a pain in the neck. Go ahead. Find a prostitute. Chat up a deal and pull out your cash. But be warned: Somewhere in the semidarkness of this asphalt landscape, a handful of cops are just waiting for the signal.
A 3rd-generation pimp, the son of a prostitute has spent a lifetime .... Surviving in Wayne's world: PODCASTS (5/14/06) Berto knew her from the neighborhood. She was a young hooker. Every now and then, he'd give her a ride somewhere, and maybe a sliver of rock cocaine he'd filched from home. One day, she got in his car and looked him up and down approvingly. "Bitches," she declared, "should be paying you." By the end of the night, Berto had made his first "pimp dollar." She was about 20. He was 16.
Reputed local pimp leaves trail of trauma: (8/27/06) In the world of teenage prostitution, flattery works wonders. Pimps recruiting young girls lace their patter with sweet talk and promises of adventure and easy cash. Skillfully crafted, theirs is a well-worn sales pitch with a predictable opening line: "You're so pretty." And then, authorities say, there's Deric Willoughby. Prostitutes and prosecutors alike say that Willoughby, known on Toledo's streets as Mackevelli, is the antithesis of a smooth-talking pimp: His heavy-handed tactics earned him a reputation as a "guerrilla" pimp.
Trio plead guilty in prostitution of 2 teenage cousins: (8/29/06) In the dispassionate language of indictments, she was simply "Jane Doe 1." Yesterday, the Toledo teen sat almost unnoticed in the last row of a federal courtroom here -- a girl who buried her face in her uncle's chest as the man who forced her into prostitution was escorted past in handcuffs. Deric Willoughby, 41, was one of three Toledoans who pleaded guilty yesterday to federal charges of conspiracy to traffic in prostitution and taking a then-15-year-old girl and her then-14-year-old cousin to Michigan where they were sold for sex.
Males who work as prostitutes a little-known part of sex industry: (12/29/12) One is 18 years old. Barely a legal adult, he likes to cruise by Scott High School at the last bell, hanging out a car window to wave at other teens from his neighborhood. The other is 31. Charged with prostitution at least 124 times since he began streetwalking at age 15, he worries what the future holds for a man with his past. But both men -- arguably Toledo's two most notorious male prostitutes -- have this in common: Each was just a teen dressed in drag along what they call downtown Toledo's "ho stroll" the first time an older man paid him for sex.
Multistate prostitution case is still in courts: (12/29/12) More than a year ago, the feds charged nearly two dozen men and women with moving women and girls -- including some Toledo-area teens -- around the country as prostitutes. A lot has happened since then. Little has changed. The heftiest indictment in a series of cases filed in Detroit, Toledo, and Harrisburg, Pa., was 102 pages and contained 33 counts against 16 men and women. They were accused of operating a ring that was based, at least in part, in Harrisburg. Over the year, six of those defendants pleaded guilty to a variety of charges.