OKC Prostitution Ring Bust Brings Attention To Human Trafficking

Friday, August 19th 2011, 5:11 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The major bust of a large prostitution ring this week is bringing attention to the seedy world of human trafficking.

According to the arrest warrants, many of the women caught up in the operation were lured in when they were very, very young.

8/18/2011 Related Story: OKC Police Make Arrests, Investigate Interstate Prostitution Ring.

"Recruitment usually begins at the age of 9," said Mark Elam, director of OATH, Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans. "They start turning tricks by 12 and get their first pimp by 12 ½."

Mark Elam is a local pastor, husband and father who has made it his mission to educate people about the sinister world of prostitution. And he's trying to do what he can to keep women from getting caught up in the sex trafficking trade.

Elam is the founder of the nonprofit group known as OATH and works with volunteers to get the message out.

Mark says he was shocked to discover human trafficking was happening not only in third world countries, but right in Oklahoma.

"Oklahoma is one of the key states when it comes to human trafficking since we are at the crossroads of America," said Mark Elam. "With I-40 and I-35 cutting right through here many of these girls get trafficked up and down the interstate to places like Texas or Mexico."

Mark has started a task force in our state to try to help girls keep from becoming sex slaves.