Former sex trade victim offers warning for teens
CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, August 31, 2012 8:26PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, August 31, 2012 8:43PM PDT
One of the teenage sex workers allegedly pimped by Reza Moazami has come forward to share her story – and a warning for other vulnerable girls – in an exclusive interview with CTV News.
The young woman, whose name cannot be revealed by law, was a 16-year-old drug addict taking everything from heroin and cocaine to ecstasy when she first started selling her body.
“Being in the state that I was, I agreed to work for [my pimp],” she said. “After you do it once, it’s like you kind of become numb and it becomes easier for you to do it again.”
She claims she and other girls her age were hooked up with johns using Craigslist and other websites, and they would earn $250 per call meeting clients at various downtown hotels.
The girls were occasionally given money to go shopping, she said, but otherwise saw very little of the cash. The young woman said she stuck around because she believed her alleged pimp cared for her.
“Emotionally, he would try to manipulate us into thinking that either he had feelings for us or he would take care of us,” she said. “It’s all those daddy issues, you know, girls just get sucked in because they need that male figure.”
She said girls would make up to 10 calls daily, except on days that they took off to party. But the destructive lifestyle quickly took its toll.
“When I wasn’t feeling numb, I was feeling very depressed and torn up inside so to not feel like that I would do more drugs,” she said. “You go crazy, you really do. And the drugs, they don’t help.”
Eventually, she came to a crossroad and dragged herself away – and now offers a warning to other at-risk teenagers.
“It’s very appealing at times when you feel like you don’t have much to lose anyway,” she said. “[But] after going through all that and seeing a brighter side of life, I could never go back and I wouldn’t wish that life upon anyone.”
“It’s not worth it – it’s not worth it.”
The young woman, who is now drug-free and has a full-time job, says she’s determined to testify against Moazami, even though he has been charged with trying to contact his alleged victims.
She also wants the public to be aware of the huge problem of young girls being exploited, claiming the majority of prostitutes are underage.
“I can guarantee you that the Johns know that, and it’s just sick. Some of these guys are old enough to be their fathers.”
Moazami is accused of luring 11 young women and underage girls into prostitution. He has been charged with 36 counts, including living on the avails of a juvenile, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and trafficking minors – the latter of which carries a minimum jail sentence of five years.
None of the allegations against Moazami have been proven in court, and a trial date has yet to be set.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee