It's hard to believe that slavery still exists, but it does, all around us.
In late June, a 27-year-old Los Angeles pimp was arrested for allegedly holding a 15-year-old girl captive and sending her out at night to solicit sex. If she didn't meet the quotas he set for her, the pimp would allegedly force her to strip in a shower and then shock her with a Taser.
James Grady III was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department on June 28 after a two-month-long human trafficking investigation. He faces charges of pimping of a minor, assault with a deadly weapon, sodomy and human trafficking.
Lt. Andre Dawson, head of the LAPD Detective Support and Vice Division, told The Huffington Post that the young girl was a "chronic runaway" and had a dysfunctional family. When Grady saw her, Dawson says, she was walking on Figueroa Street in LA, after having run away from a group home in Riverside.
Grady recruited her into prostitution by making promises, buying her clothes and taking her out to dinner, which are common tactics used by pimps, according to the police. "She thought she was in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with him," Dawson said. "She was looking for love in the all the wrong places."
The girl told police she was being held captive except for at night, when she would be sent out to prostitute. Grady gave her financial quotas ranging from $600 to $1600 a day, Dawson told HuffPost. If she did not meet the quotas, Grady would force her to take off her clothes and get in the running shower, where he would then hold a Taser to her skin, according to police.
One time, Grady allegedly placed a rifle underneath her chin and said that he would kill her and her family if she did not meet the quota, police say. He also allegedly forced her to perform sexual acts on him.
After being with Grady for four months, one night in early May, when the girl was out prostituting, she ran to an apartment building and told a resident that she was being held against her will. The police were called, and she was put into a secure facility where she is receiving counseling and resources to help transition her back to normal life.
"At the end of the 'Game' [prostitution], you have a child that says, 'All I want to do now is be normal,'" Dawson said. "But they've been forced to live the life of an adult, and it's a long road of recovery."
Dawson explained that the police are trying to increase understanding of sex slavery and trafficking. "The big message is that these little girls are not out there because they want to be. We're trying to teach people to call us if they see a young girl out because there's always a pimp behind the scenes," he said.
In 2010, 174 girls -- all under 18 years old and some as young as 11 -- were arrested on prostitution-related charges in LA, according to a Los Angeles County-wide anti-child sex trafficking campaign. A trafficker can make $140,000 annually selling one girl, and most traffickers have multiple girls in their "stable" -- anywhere from five to 10 or more, according to the county campaign. That means pimps could make over $1 million a year.
Also, check out these 20 ways you can help fight human trafficking.