An alleged pimp’s “stable” of underage, branded victims is expected to be the focus in court when the suspect is arraigned Wednesday on federal charges of trafficking a 16-year-old girl and advertising her services online as an Inland Empire-based prostitute.
Lawrence Gunn Jr., 32, who was arrested without incident last month at a Woodland Hills apartment complex, faces felony charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Gunn — also known as “Classified” — branded his prostitutes with tattoos of his nickname to mark his “stable” of sex workers, federal prosecutors allege.
The investigation into Gunn began in February when the 16-year-old was traced to a Moreno Valley motel, where authorities discovered five victims who were working for Gunn — three of whom were minors, court documents allege.
Several of them had tattoos that read “Classified,” including the 16- year-old girl, who had the tattoo over her right eye, according to court papers.
The victims had placed advertisements for commercial sex acts on Backpage.com and that Gunn had about a dozen women and girls working for him, prosecutors allege.
One of the victims had posted hundreds of ads for sex services in states as far away as Alaska and Minnesota, according to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.
Several victims told authorities that Gunn took all of the money they collected from customers, with one victim using a wire transfer service to send more than $17,000 to Gunn over the course of three months, the document alleges.
“Every day, human trafficking victimizes large numbers of women and children, causing victims physical harm and long-lasting emotional trauma,” said Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. “This case demonstrates that law enforcement has adopted a new approach that views the women and children as crime victims, but we will continue to aggressively prosecute their traffickers.”
–City News Service