Another modern day slavery case has happened just stones throw away from the Free the Slaves west coast office. Hawthorne, CA man Leroy Bragg, 34 was arrested last week and charged with human trafficking, soliciting a minor, and pandering and procuring of a minor, among other crimes. Bragg reportedly also goes by aliases Edwards Quincy, and “Snipe King.”
Bragg was arrested on the evening of September 28 in Hawthorne, following a chase through a residential neighborhood, where he “jumped through yards and tried to break into homes to elude police,” the Daily Breeze reports. Bragg was apprehended after an LAPD investigation of South Los Angeles motels suspected of allowing prostitution. Police discovered two minors who said they had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Other reports say law enforcement was tipped off when one of the girls contacted the LAPD.
The father of one of the kidnapped girls said in a press conference this morning that his daughter was given a tattoo identifying her as the property the “Snipe King.” Sex traffickers branding their victims is a common practice.
Victims of sex trafficking are often afraid to come forward, fearing arrest and re-victimization. Regarding the arrest of Bragg, LAPD Detective Hector Sanchez said, “When girls get exploited like this, they have a lot of things to worry about, so when they see the police a lot of times, even though we are there to rescue them, they are trained to dislike us by their pimp.”
2010 Frederick Douglass Freedom Award winner Tina Frundt is a survivor of sex trafficking. She says her trafficker taught her to fear the police, and told her she would be arrested and treated like a criminal. “And everything he said was true,” Tina says, “Everything.”
In a testimony at a recent congressional hearing on the sex trafficking of minors, Frundt described her experience:
“I am a survivor of child sex trafficking. I was 13 years old when I fell in love for the first time—he turned out to be a pimp. I was gang raped, psychologically manipulated, sold for sex, and beaten. I had a broken arm, broken finger, and broken spirit when the police found me at age 15 through a raid. Sadly, they arrested me and I spent one year in juvenile detention. Torture… this is the typical experience of a child sex victim.
Arrest rescued me from my pimp, but it gave me the label of delinquent. Detention gave me a year away from the daily rapes and beatings I was enduring, but it did not provide me with counseling or treatment for the trauma. I spent one year locked up and came out at the end with no referrals for services or assistance to rejoin a teenager’s life in America.”
Frundt is now an anti-slavery activist who founded her own hot line and advocacy organization, Courtney’s House.
Police say Leroy Bragg likely victimized “dozens” of other women and girls. If you have any information, contact Detective Hector Sanchez at 213.486.0957.