Twin Teen Pimps Arrested in Chicago Suburb

I might or might not have known some boys in high school who sold pot. At the time, it seemed like an awful lot to risk for a few extra bucks. Or maybe it was more than a few bucks — I didn’t ask. I did wonder about the consequences, though, if they were ever to get caught. How much trouble would they be in with the police, the school or — worst of all — their parents?

But selling a recreational drug seems like such small potatoes compared to selling humans, and apparently that’s what kids these days are up to. First we heard about the sale and gang rape of a 7-year-old in New Jersey, and now two teen brothers — twins — from Cook County, Illinois, have been arrested for selling girls for sex. If the charges are true, 17-year-olds Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett essentially worked as a team of twin pimps.

I guess an honest hourly wage at McDonald’s doesn’t compare to a pimp’s salary. ads allegedly posted by the boys asked for as much as $300 an hour, and you can bet the girls weren’t allowed to keep much, if anything, for the tortures they endured. An undercover officer recovered one victim during Tyrelle’s arrest, and the girl bore “obvious and visible signs she had been a victim of repeated violence.”

Said violence could have easily come from either the seller or the buyer, or both. In at least one case, the “working relationship” between the twins and the girls they pimped out began as a romantic involvement and devolved from there. Gaining trust and love from a girl first and later forcing her into prostitution with physical abuse is a play straight from the pimps’ handbook. But violence on the part of buyers isn’t uncommon, either, and pimps aren’t typically inclined to stop a client from doing pretty much whatever he pleases.

Luckily, law enforcement recognized the girls as victims, rather than criminals. They have been matched with services that will, hopefully, help them recover and heal from this experience. But what about the boys? If underage prostitutes are treated automatically as victims (as they should be), what do you do with underage traffickers? Obviously, pimps are not victims, but how responsible will the Lockett brothers be held for their actions? Should the justice system treat them as minors or adults?

One news source noted that the twins’ arrest was “the first of its kind,” but I’m not sure how surprising it really is. Maybe the aforementioned 15-year-old New Jersey girl selling her little sister for sex put a big dent in the shock value of this arrest. At this point, it seems more productive to move beyond the disbelief and start asking some bigger questions: What drives teens to sell other teens for sex? If money and power are motivators, what forces aren’t stopping them — where has their sense of humanity gone, and how do we get it back?

Photo credit: John Steven Fernandez




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