Two stories broke this past week shining a light once again on the problem of minors being used as sex slaves right here in metro Atlanta. First, here’s a story about an alleged nudie bar in the basement of a house not too far from my house:
LAWRENCEVILLE – During a press conference Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Jail, State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, called for law enforcement to re-examine charges against a woman police said may have been running an underground strip club.
Constance Trahan, 28, was arrested on July 18 and charged with maintaining a disorderly house. Police responding to a noise complaint said it appeared as though the basement of the Purcell Road home was being used as a strip club, and that alcohol was being sold to minors.
Investigators have acknowledged minors may have been drinking, but have made no implications regarding child exploitation, only saying that several people who “appeared underage” left the home as officers arrived.
Unterman, a member of the Joint Commission on the Exploitation of Minors, said it’s a matter of logic.
“If kids are drinking shooters, dancing and stripping, sex is going on,” Unterman said.
Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said he doesn’t believe the charges against Trahan meet the definition of exploitation, but that he would be happy to look into the incident.
Also this week, Juan Cortes-Meza pleaded guilty to sex-trafficking charges.
ATLANTA – Juan Cortes-Meza enticed uneducated, impoverished women and girls from rural Mexico to come to the United States, where a better life, he claimed, awaited them as restaurant workers or housekeepers.
In reality, Cortes-Meza would smuggle the women and girls to metro Atlanta – including a home near Norcross – intending to use them as sex slaves, forcing them into prostitution by way of strict controls and physical violence.
A key member in the underground sex ring, Cortes-Meza, 31, of Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to sex-trafficking charges. He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.
The case brings to light what experts call a scourge of sexually exploited minors in Georgia. Child advocacy group “A Future. Not A Past” estimates more than 200 young girls are exploited across the state every month.