Ottawa

Victims of teen pimp ring tell court they live in fear

The youngest victim of an Ottawa teen pimping ring has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and says she is too "scared to do anything" since she was forced into prostitution, an Ottawa court heard Tuesday.

'I am scared to live and scared to do anything' victim tells sentencing hearing

The youngest victim of an Ottawa teen prostitution ring has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and says she is too "scared to do anything" since she was forced into prostitution, an Ottawa court heard Tuesday.

The girl, who was 13 at the time, was in court Tuesday but Crown prosecutors read her statement at the sentencing hearing for a teen Crown prosecutors called the ringleader of a violent pimping operation.

The 18-year-old woman, who was 15 when she was arrested in 2012,  was found guilty earlier this year on 27 charges, including procurement for the purpose of prostitution, human trafficking, making child pornography, sexual assault, child luring, uttering threats and unlawful confinement.

The victim told the court in a statement she is now living with her grandmother out of the province but misses her mother, brother and friends. But she said the experience has left her scarred and that in May she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress-disorder.

"I have nightmares about the incident," she said in her statement. "I am scared to live and scared to do anything."

Her mother, who was in court Tuesday, was crying as she told the court she had lost the ability to raise her daughter.

"I can't keep her safe," she told the court.

Crown wants ringleader sentenced as adult

Crown prosecutors want the young offender to be sentenced as an adult.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act the teen would serve a maximum three year sentence but given the extra credit for time served prior to the trial, she wouldn't be sentenced to any more time in custody.  

Prosecutor Fara Rupert argued the teen's actions were that of an adult and that she should be sentenced as such. The adult mandatory minimum sentence for her crimes is five years.  

During the trial, three girls, between 13 and 17 years old at the time, described how they were delivered to johns and forced to hand over earnings for performing sex acts.

Four other girls testified about their experiences, including one who described being photographed naked in a bathtub when she was too drunk to move.

On Tuesday the Crown read the statement from another victim, who said she can't get out bed during the day and can't sleep at night because of flashbacks.

"I thought I was going to die," her statement read.

Facility staff says teen 'manipulating'

The court has also heard from a probation officer who cited a staff facility report on the teen prisoner, saying she goes by her street name at the facility and socializes with others who have committed similar crimes.

The probation officer also noted staff at the facility have described the teen as devoid of emotion and "manipulating", but said it was difficult to assess the teen as the officer had only met her for three hours.

Defence lawyers pointed out however that the same report also noted the teen was polite and had positive interactions and was enrolled in the Elizabeth Fry Society behavioural program "Girls Moving On."

2 co-accused plead guilty mid-trial

Last year two other teen girls entered mid-trial guilty pleas for their roles in the prostitution ring.

None of the accused can be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Crown prosecutors did not pursue adult sentences for the two teen girls who pleaded guilty, but have signalled their intention to pursue an adult sentence in this case. The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday.

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