Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Camille Bains
Canadian Press

Child forced to sell herself

Girl, 11, from Portland, Ore., wound up on Vancouver's meanest street

A videotaped statement by an 11-year-old American girl played in court Tuesday described how she was drugged and forced to work on Vancouver's notorious kiddie hooker stroll.

In the tape, played at the trial of three Americans, the girl from Portland, Ore., said she was made to work as a prostitute up to 12 hours a day.

She told police she crossed the border with two men, a woman and the woman's two-year-old son last February under the guise of attending a wedding in a Vancouver suburb.

But she said she had been told previously by the three adults that there was easy money to be made in prostitution in Vancouver.

She agreed to go along because she was a runaway and had already worked the streets, she stated to police.

Jabari McCrory, 26, David Martin Walker, 25 and Mistenda Mae Carter, 24, all of Portland, are charged with abduction of a minor under the age of 14, living off the avails of prostitution, sexual interference and assault.

A provincial court judge is hearing the case without a jury.

Lawrence Meyers, defence lawyer for one of the accused men, said the judge still has to decide if the videotaped evidence is admissible.

Meyers said the girl does not wish to testify in court or by video link from Oregon and that the case will be dismissed if the police videotape is not admissible.

"There's no support other than her statement to the police that supports these allegations," Meyers said.

The girl, who is seen sitting on a couch while two police officers interview her, spoke in a deep, relaxed voice. She appears older than her 11 years and is well versed in the lingo of the prostitution world.

Crown prosecutor Henry Reiner said regardless of her sophistication or whether she had voluntarily worked the streets in Vancouver, the girl was still only 11.

"I think to a certain extent, to a large extent, it was voluntary but that she's still a child and we do have requirements that children should not be exploited," Reiner said outside court.

In the taped statement, the girl said she was given caffeine pills, the rave drug ecstasy, LSD, marijuana and other drugs to keep her working around the clock. She said she obtained some of the drugs from a "trick."

"I would get an hour, an hour-and-a-half breaks," she said. "I worked from 12 o'clock in the afternoon until 12 o'clock at night or 3 o'clock in the morning until 3 o'clock in the afternoon."

She told police and a social worker that she had slept for a total of four hours during the four days was in Vancouver last February.

The girl also said that she was threatened with being beaten until she couldn't breathe and that she would be thrown out on to the highway.

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Created: July 13, 2001
Last modified: July 13, 2001
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