Utah Sex Trafficking Victim Talks About Her Experience

When many people hear the term “sex trafficking,” there is often an image associated with it of young girls from outside of the country forced into the world of prostitution. But many people may not realize that sex trafficking is also prevalent in Utah. KSL investigators watched as car after car, “John” after “John,” stopped to pick up women walking along the streets of Salt Lake. There definitely seems to be a demand for it.

“Saturdays are good days. Friday nights are good nights,” said Donna Steele. “I used to like to come out at 4:15 in the morning and get the guys that are going to work.” Steele is a known prostitute on State Street. She is 54 years old, is hooked on heroin by her own admission, and has been selling sex for the better part of a decade. Steele has clients, but the reality is, more and more Johns aren’t looking for women, they want girls. Most of the underage trafficking is rarely found at night, under the street lamps, in the seedy parts of town. It is primarily solicited online.

“It is a mistake for law enforcement to simply go out and write a bunch of tickets for Class B misdemeanors for someone engaging in prostitution,” said Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank. He says putting prostitutes in jail will not solve the problem. Instead, he believes they need to go after the Johns and track down the pimps.When asked if the problem will ever be solved, Burbank responded, “Oh boy, I’d like to say yes, but again, the demand side is so enormous that it is very difficult. Until society says we’re not going to accept this, absolutely we’re not going to accept this, it will continue.”Learn more at Tania Mashburn’s and Mike Headrick’s KSL TV News article: Victim of sex trafficking in Utah talks about experience.

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