Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Rod Mickleburgh

At 11, the youngest prostitute

VANCOUVER — She is just 11 years old. But there was no shortage of customers for the young girl offering sexual services for money in the heart of the city's notorious "kiddie stroll."

In a case vice squad members are calling the most horrific they have encountered, the girl told police she was abducted and forced onto the streets by three Americans she met at a Portland shopping mall, taking in close to $1,000 in four days of selling her body almost non-stop.

The girl, who cannot be identified, is believed to be the youngest street prostitute discovered so far by police in Canada.

Detective Constable Raymond Payette of the Vancouver Police, who interviewed the young victim in custody, said he found the experience chilling.

"Something ran up my spine," he told a local television station. "It's hard enough talking to a 28-year-old [victim], but you're looking over and you're thinking she's 11 years old. She should be playing somewhere and not involved the way she was."

"She is certainly the youngest victim [our vice squad] has ever seen," Constable Anne Drennan said Monday.

Constable Drennan said the girl was plied with stimulants and assaulted by her controllers — two men and a woman — to keep her working.

"She was very, very frightened. She'd been drugged, intimidated and frequently assaulted. Her treatment was particularly heinous."

Constable Drennan quoted a veteran member of the vice squad who interviewed the girl. "He said it was the most disturbing statement he had ever taken."

Jabari McCrory, 26, David Martin Walker, 25, and Milenda Mae Carter, 24 — all from Portland — are facing a string of charges in the case, including abduction of a child under 14, sexual interference with someone under 14, assault and living off the avails of prostitution.

Ms. Carter's 18-month-old baby, with her when she was arrested, has been turned over to the care of the provincial Children and Family Ministry.

A bail hearing Monday in Provincial Court for the three suspects, who remain in police custody, was adjourned until Tuesday.

The group entered Canada from Oregon by telling border officials they were going to Vancouver to attend a wedding.

Corporal Gerry Peters, a member of the RCMP's provincial prostitution unit, said he has never heard of a girl that young working Canadian streets. "In my school presentations, I've always used the case of a 12-year-old in Vancouver. Now sadly, we have a case involving an 11-year-old," he said.

The girl was noticed by an officer during a routine patrol of several blocks on Vancouver's east side known as the kiddie stroll because of its reputation for underage street prostitution.

"She had basically been working there for four days. … with no more than four hours sleep," Constable Drennan said. "She'd work 12 hours at a time, with maybe a three-hour break. They kept her up with drugs like acid, speed, ecstasy and caffeine."

Constable Drennan said the girl thought she had turned over nearly $1,000 to those controlling her. "The price varied per customer."

She said it would not be unusual for police to take several days to notice a very young girl working the streets. "If they are fairly active, in and out of vehicles, tracking their movement can be pretty tough. And these people were moving on a daily basis."

Constable Drennan said the girl was flown back to Portland on Sunday, a day after she was picked up by police.

All three suspects have criminal records in the United States, she added.

The father of one of the suspects told reporters he was stunned by the charges his son was facing, noting that he and the other male suspect are best pals who had attended an elite Jesuit prep. school.

Cpl. Peters of the RCMP said child prostitution is booming in the Lower Mainland.

"Yes, this case is shocking, but I can show you about 100 other shocking stories. The average age of girls starting out is 14 years. Really, they are all children," Cpl. Peters said. "It's a terrible, terrible, sad state of affairs."

He said there is no shortage of customers for underage girl prostitutes.

"What really surprises me is that someone wanting to pimp could be so bold as to put an 11-year-old out on the street. It's just unbelievable."

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Created: February 27, 2001
Last modified: February 27, 2001
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