According to Philly’s Salvation Army Anti-Trafficking Efforts
It is not uncommon for sex trafficking rings in the Philadelphia region to be run by pimps and their biological family members, according to Jamie Manirakiza, MSW, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Social Services for The Salvation Army in Philadelphia. Manirkiza was the guest speaker at BCAT’s October 14 meeting. She offered an overview of “New Day Women’s Drop-In Center” at 2659 Kensington Avenue in Philadelphia. The center is open from 11 am to 5 pm Mondays through Thursdays and from 9 pm to 12 am Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Salvation Army has received a federal grant to provide services to area victims, which includes Bucks County. About 20 percent of the center’s client base comes from Bucks County, notably Bensalem, Doylestown and Quakertown.
Local pimps often include their biological family members in the running of their operations for two reasons, Manirakiza said. First, they want to present their operations as “family businesses,” so that sex-trafficking victims feel they “belong” to the organization. Second, pimps want to ensure that if they are arrested, someone they trust will be left behind to keep an eye on the operation and the victims/prostitutes. Pimps may call on their biological mothers, sisters, cousins and other family members to watch over their businesses.
Pimps often deliberately impregnate their sex-trafficking victims not only so that the victims feel more tied to the trafficking operation, Manirakiza said, but also because some of the johns like to engage in sex with pregnant victims.
The center provides a no-judgment place for women to come and speak with counselors about their situations and find avenues to other services such as health care, Manirakiza said.