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Disturbing human-trafficking arrest highlights growing problem in capital area

2 years 7 months 4 days ago Monday, November 08 2021 Nov 8, 2021 November 08, 2021 5:40 PM November 08, 2021 in Crime
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Kevontae "Weedy" Reed was arrested Friday for forcing young teens into prostitution back in August.

Reed, 26, was implicated by the girls, ages 13, 14, and 15, as the man who would arrange the sexual encounters at the Shades Motel. He allegedly told them they needed to "earn their right" to stay in his hotel room.

Reed, who bonded out of jail on Saturday, has been caught for prostitution before. In 2019, he was booked for misdemeanor charges of solicitation and pandering and released. In 2015, he was charged with carnal knowledge of a juvenile, though the case was later dismissed.

At least two of the girls in this most recent case say they ran away from their foster homes and had no where else to go.

"These traffickers, they are hanging out at malls, shopping centers, libraries. They're not presenting as these awful scary people," Christy Tate with the Department of Children and Family Services said.

Tate says the number of juveniles sex-trafficked in the state is shocking.

"Of those 759 victims [statewide], we know that just about 70 percent of them are juveniles. So we're looking at about 540 of those reported last year were juveniles."

More than 90 of them were under the age of 12.

The parishes with the most cases were Orleans, Caddo and East Baton Rouge. 

"People really think this is a problem elsewhere. Maybe it's in the big cities. Maybe it's international, but it's not. I mean we're talking about in Louisiana, we're talking about in the cities that we go to."

For Tate, Getting help for the girls allegedly trafficked by Reedand any othersis difficult.

"Oftentimes they're very connected to their trafficker. So there's a lot of therapeutic services and really a long road of working to help heal some of those things that have happened to them."

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