Anti-Trafficking Group Aims To Help Silent Victims
DENVER (CBS4)- The break up of a child prostitution ring out of Lakewood has an anti-trafficking group working to help victims of similar situations.
Six people linked to a child prostitution ring are in custody after a two-year investigation that included the FBI, police in Lakewood and the Jefferson County District Attorney.
Emily Lafferrandre of the anti-trafficking non-profit group Praxus said there is a hidden population of silent victims like those involved in the child prostitution ring. She hopes this case will help open the public’s eyes to the crimes.
“This really is the sexual exploitation of children for commercial gain,” said Lafferrandre. “I’m glad that others are aware of this, getting traction, supporting people with this form of exploitation.”
Praxus is a Denver-based non-profit that is dedicated to ending domestic human trafficking, particularly amongst homeless youth.
The prostitution ring was operating out of the Timberleaf Apartment Homes in Lakewood where seven people have been accused of luring a 13-year-old and two 16-year-olds in to a life of prostitution by using meth as bait.
The six suspects have been identified as Kevin Snuggs, Daniel Onodera, Pamela Lewis, Marshall Ashton, Nickolas Silk and Zenian Shaw. They are facing charges related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Onodera, 42, is the alleged ringleader of the child prostitution ring.
Authorities are still looking for a seventh member of the alleged child trafficking ring. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Mark Wayne Turturice.
There were three female victims identified in this operation, one was 13 and two were 16-years-old. The girls did not know each other but had similarities. They had each run away from home, were truant from school and each had been lured into the prostitution net by drugs.
“Our goal is to turn them from victims into survivors,” said Lafferrandre.
Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking: 1.866.455.5075