Pimping Yields Big Profits

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A small town near Seattle seems an unlikely place to earn a six-figure profit from sex trafficking, but 32-year-old Shacon Fontane Barbee reportedly made at least $192,000 in eight months from his prostitution ring, and he drove around in one of his two luxury vehicles — a Jaguar XJR or a Mercedes S420.  Steve Hunter, a reporter in Kent, Washington, described the charges that the pimp faces: “promoting prostitution, leading organized crime, promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor (under age 18) and several other charges.”  Hunter also tracked the pimp’s career in organized crime and some of his victims’ stories.

One of the prostituted girls (age 19 at the time) told the detectives that she gave all her earnings (about $2,000/week) to Barbee.  The detectives figured that Barbee probably had at least two other girls working for him (if not more) which meant that during one eight-month period of time, he made close to $200,000.

As is typical, while he was raking in the money, the girls who were his sex slaves received only meager handouts.  Many of the girls were minors when they first met Barbee and were convinced that he “loved” them and “needed” their “help.”  The detectives reported that Barbee started pimping in 2007 and had lured more than 40 girls to work for him.  Four of the women were interviewed by Kent Police.

  • One interviewee is an 18-year-old who was first associated with Barbee at age 13 and was prostituted at age 16.  She not only met clients at hotel rooms, she helped recruit other girls for Barbee.
  • A 19-year-old met Barbee through another victim who became her friend through Internet social networking.  She averaged 5-6 men a night and the assignations were made through backpage.com.
  • Another interviewee, 20 years old, also met Barbee after being recruited by a girl she met online.  She ended up working as a street prostitute for Barbee for only eight months.
  • The final interviewee only worked for Barbee for one night, as a “two-girl special,” but she didn’t stay because she was convinced that Barbee “really didn’t care about her and he had a violent reputation.”

That last testimony summarizes the problem with criminals like Barbee: The pimp used young women as commercial commodities to make money. As long as the victim was profitable, she was treated well enough to keep her “within the fold.”  Under the thumb of their pimps, these vulnerable girls think that he truly cares for them, and the pimp uses that myth to control her and use her for his own financial benefit.

Barbee is currently in jail with bail set at $500,000.  He has entered a “not guilty” plea and is scheduled for trial on September 19.  He faces up to 15 years if convicted of all the charges against him.  Most people think 15 years is not nearly enough punishment for criminals like Barbee.

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