Four people have been charged with trafficking a 14-year-old girl, forcing her to have sex for money in Philadelphia, while a fifth suspect is at large, police said.
According to the police department, 23-year-old Shawn Jackson, 23-year-old Reggie Jamal Fields, 18-year-old Shaikey Copper and 21-year-old Fantasia Gale are in police custody after the girl reportedly escaped on April 25 after being held captive for two days and made to perform sex acts upon multiple men, notes WPVI.
“She was actually transported to different locations to do the dates, and she was being driven to those locations by the offenders,” Detective Kate Gordon of the Special Victims Unit said, according to WPVI.
Police are also searching for 24-year-old Angelo Romero for his reported involvement in the crime.
WPVI reports that the girl escaped her captors by convincing them that she was going to buy them something from a nearby convenience store, although International Business Times stated that she was able to leave the house while the suspects were asleep.
Either way, reports state that the girl entered the bodega, where someone gave her a bus token, and she managed to take the bus to the hospital, according to WPVI.
It started on April 23, when the girl said she ran away from home and contacted Copper, whom she thought was a friend. He reportedly told her that he had work she could do and then sexually assaulted her when she arrived at his home.
Police said that he then took the girl to Fields’ home, where Gale reportedly put up an online ad for sex with the girl, and the group then allegedly trafficked her — according to International Business Times, the older individuals reportedly forced the 14-year-old to have sex for money with more than a dozen men during the two-day period that they had her in captivity.
After the victim escaped, the four suspects who were arrested were charged with criminal conspiracy, trafficking an individual, involuntary servitude, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and corruption of a minor, while Jackson was additionally charged with rape, sexual assault and simple assault, notes Philly Voice.
Copper, Fields and Gale “were very much aware that this was a child,” Gordon said, according to WPVI.
Copper also faces a sexual assault charges, while Fields was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent exposure and Gale faces a count related to making terroristic threats, reports Philly Voice.
Sources: WPVI via WLS-TV, Philly Voice, International Business Times / Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr