The Denver crime ring had all the makings of a traditional street gang: A clear hierarchy, members who tattooed the group’s name on their bodies, girlfriends at the ready to help cover their tracks, says the Denver Post. Rather than drugs and guns, the organization whose indictment was announced this week allegedly trafficked primarily in young girls. It’s a trend that, according to experts, is growing, not just overseas or in big port cities but in towns across the United States.
While commodities such as guns and drugs are gone once you sell them, a human-trafficking victim — isolated, afraid, potentially addicted or dependent in other ways — provides an ongoing profit stream. “For people who are ruthless and don’t care what they do to other human beings, it is a very attractive business proposition,” said Denver lawyer T. Markus Funk, a former federal prosecutor and co-author of the recent book “Child Exploitation and Trafficking. “They’re like omnivores. They’re not selective.” Colorado enacted an anti-human-trafficking law in 2006, but the first successful prosecution wasn’t completed until last summer.