A Kansas City teen is in jail, charged with luring two teens into prostitution.
Jessi C. Larkie, 18, is charged with two counts of sex trafficking of a child with the help of her boyfriend, Darnell Williams. The victims were 14 and 17 years old.
According to court documents, Larkie found the 17-year-old through Facebook, promising to be friends and roommates. When that victim couldn't get a job, Larkie pushed the juvenile into prostitution.
"Perpetrators are often crafty," said Jessie Hogan, advocacy director for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault. "And MOCSA is here because of the fact that we know that this happens more frequently than we may like to think."
The 14-year-old victim met Larkie in 2015 through a mutual friend. Court documents state the juvenile stayed with Larkie on three separate occasions over the course of a year. The final time, the juvenile away from his or her foster home in Overland Park to Larkie, who made the victim perform sex acts for money.
Kristy Childs was a prostitute herself for more than 20 years. Now, she works through her program, Veronica's Voice, to provide services for prostituted people. Childs said, "Kids that are in foster care obviously have experienced trauma."
In her experience, stories of childhood prostitution often happen the same way.
"It's usually like an older person manipulating the younger people. I mean, we're talking about kids that are kind of like the same age. There has to be somebody else behind the scenes that has more involvement than is being told."
Childs believes Williams may have more involvement than it seems and Larkie may actually be a victim herself, like many others she has seen. "So they're acting in favor and doing the pimp's bidding so they are taking these cases," she said.
Larkie is in custody. Bond is set at $75,000 cash only and she cannot have contact with anyone under 17 years old.
A court date for Larkie has not yet been set.
Dia Wall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.