News 11 Investigative Report: Kids for Sale, Part II - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

News 11 Investigative Report: Kids for Sale, Part II

This is the second in a three-part series. Part three airs Tuesday at 6 p.m.

"The first day, oh, Lord. The first day I turned a trick, it was crazy how you did it," says Theresa Spears about her initiation into prostitution at the age of 14. Spears says she was "hooked" into hooking at a playground about a block from a police station.

"Man, we used to work from like one o'clock till our legs started hurting," Spears says told News 11's Shelley Brown. "Or until our private part was tired of being messed around with."

Leeann, who didn't want to reveal her full name, says she was 15 years old when she started selling sex.

"I was wiring money to Texas when I was 18 years old -- to a pimp," she says, adding that she was turning tricks in her north Toledo neighborhood and at truck stops, hotels and even downtown Toledo businesses.

The girls worked the streets, walking up and down Nebraska around the park. They were told to make eye contact with every male that drove by.

"I know for sure I made, like $400 every night," Spears says, but like Leeann, she never saw that money. Her pimp kept most of it.

And if they didn't return with the pimp's daily "quota," the girls could have been beaten or raped.

There's an explanation for why some girls are targeted by pimps.

"Every kid that we've found that has been trafficked has been vulnerable and emotionally needy in some areas," says University of Toledo associate professor of social work Dr. Celia Williamson, who has interviewed prostitutes on the streets of Toledo.

She says the common denominator is physical or sexual abuse. Sure enough, both Leeann and Spears say they were molested by a family member as little girls. 

Spears ran away from home and had no clue the guy she happened to meet in the park that day was going to use her illegally to make money.

Leeann turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with childhood abuse. She says she turned to prostitution to help her pay for drugs.

"He said, 'Show me your boobies and I'll give you some pills. That was the first transaction I ever did with prostitution, and I was like, 'Wow, this is easy.' Pills make me forget about my abuse so I wanted more," she says.

Leeann worked as a prostitute for 16 years in Toledo and Spears, for about three years.

"That's probably why I got off the game so quickly -- because I caught a disease," Spears says.

Today, they're considered survivors and are no longer in the prostitution game. Both are working with Second Chance, and both plan to get their GEDs.

"I pray I pass, 'cause I'm ready," Spears says, adding that she wants to be a fashion designer.

Leeann would like something in the field of social work. In fact, she just started a group called Prostitutes Anonymous.

"I had a dream when I was a little girl. I wanted to be a firewoman or a doctor but that was taken from me and I can't do nothing about that, and I refuse to let that go, to let that next little girl suffer," Leeann says.

On the Web: http://www.prostitutionconference.com/Second_Chance.htm

Posted by KO

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