In April 2017, longer ended up being sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading bad to attempted aggravated trafficking that is human indecent solicitation of a young child, electronic solicitation of a kid and four counts of intimate exploitation of a child

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In April 2017, longer ended up being sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading bad to attempted aggravated trafficking that is human indecent solicitation of a young child, electronic solicitation of a kid and four counts of intimate exploitation of a child

Victim or predator?

As “the right hand associated with the company,” Kagay said, Zeferjohn ended up being accountable for “recruiting, determining objectives, finding and wanting to make their trust” for Long’s sex company.

“She needed to be held accountable,” Kagay stated. “She earnestly recruited and permitted children that are minor be sexually abused, to be prostituted.”

That kind of role is certainly not unusual, said Yazmin Vafa, co-founder and director that is executive of, a peoples legal rights team that centers on gender-based physical violence.

Vafa stated Zeferjohn served as what’s called a “bottom girl,” a term accustomed describe women that are“young ascend to a posture of energy as they are near the top of the exploitation hierarchy, where they are generally relied upon because of the trafficker to say purchase and authority on the list of other young ladies who are now being victimized.”

Kagay said the Shawnee County District Attorney’s workplace ended up being fair to Zeferjohn considering the fact that she victimized at the least two other girls, minors have been maybe maybe not faced with crimes.

Prosecutors dropped nine regarding the 10 felonies as well as 2 misdemeanors she initially faced and Zeferjohn assisted in Long’s prosecution. She eventually pleaded bad to 1 cost of aggravated human being trafficking. That helped reduce her phrase from a potential 15 years in jail to almost six years, Kagay stated.

Zeferjohn also had been sentenced to jail time because among the victims asked that she be incarcerated, Kagay stated.

“I do not have question that between your two of these, Anthony longer is more culpable in which he additionally paid a higher cost,” Kagay said.

If he’s ever released from jail, longer must register as an intercourse offender for 25 years. Included in her phrase, Zeferjohn will invest a very long time on the registry.

“I think you started off being a target in this instance,” District Judge David Debenham told Zeferjohn as he sentenced her in August 2017, simply a couple of days after she switched 19.

“You crossed the line,” Debenham said, “at some moment in time.”

’You deserve everything you get’

Since 2000, federal plus some state regulations have actually specified that anybody under 18 whom does a commercial intercourse work is considered a target of intercourse trafficking. But advocates for intimately abused girls nevertheless face a battle that is“cultural” Vafa stated. Advocates’ rallying cry is: “There’s no such thing as a kid prostitute.”

“So nearly all the girls that people cope with for a day-to-day foundation are actually viewed as bad girls, or complicit within the exploitation they’re experiencing,” Vafa stated. “There’s still outstanding quantity of victim-blaming happening.”

That’s the bias at play in Zeferjohn’s situation and 12 other instances in Kansas, said Karen Countryman-Roswurm, manager of this Center for fighting individual Trafficking, that offers training, training and technical assist with survivors. Girls had been runaways through the Kansas Department for the kids and Families cuban dates or even the justice that is juvenile, ended up underneath the control of intercourse traffickers, then had been charged as crooks if they had been really victims, she said.

In interviews with KCUR, three of these women that are young their experiences were comparable to Zeferjohn’s. At some time throughout their development through the care that is foster unlawful systems, social employees and police force officers switched on them, they stated, talking regarding the condition which they wouldn’t be identified.

“I’m still considered to be a perpetrator,” said one, a 17-year-old woman whom has been doing and out from the juvenile justice system since she had been 10. “I’m nevertheless considered to be my (criminal) fee. Also it’s difficult to place your self for the reason that target environment when everybody’s pushing one to ‘You’re a perpetrator and also you deserve everything you get.’”

An analysis for the Kansas Public Offender Registry by APM Reports implies that beliefs of girls in instances like Zeferjohn’s are incredibly unusual. Overview of Shawnee County District Attorney data including 2015 to March 2019 suggests that Zeferjohn had been the person that is only and convicted for trafficking for the reason that county.

Although not all juvenile offenders show up on the intercourse offender enrollment internet site, because Kansas law enables a judge, in certain circumstances, to help keep a case that is minor’s being made general general general public. The Kansas Sentencing Commission states individual trafficking fees, whether for guys or females, whether minors or grownups, have been in the single digits and generally are usually pleaded right down to other crimes.

Countryman-Roswurm stated girls like Zeferjohn challenge into the appropriate system because of stereotypes about victims of intercourse crimes. Instead of being beaten-down young girls whom welcome rescue from police, she explained, the truth is that some girls develop in tough surroundings and don’t affix to anybody due to therefore mistreatment that is much. So these girls – she prefers “survivors” – take solid control of the circumstances and appear hardened. A“streetness is had by them,” she said, that produces them aim to first-responders as though these are typically perpetrators.

“In trafficking, element of that lifestyle all together, you don’t simply stay static in the part of this misbranded victim that is perfect-worthy” Countryman-Roswurm stated.

Whenever those girls get prepared through the unlawful justice system, advocates said, prosecutors often provide plea deals simply because they don’t would you like to spend enough time and cost of using their instances to test. Attorneys, family or other people convince survivors to plead accountable to reduced fees in order to prevent the possibility of prison time if their instances do head to test, Countryman-Roswurm stated.

“The best injustice in the usa is (being) poor, lower-class,” she claims. “You’ve experienced custody and also you just take a plea.”

2nd shot at a pardon

In May 2015, then-Gov. Brownback, a Republican, had been making use of their photo op with Hope Zeferjohn’s family members to tout a 7% boost in reunification of families to “a safe and loving house,” as a DCF news release said.

KVC Kansas, the foster care specialist to DCF, also create a news launch utilizing the Zeferjohns’ photo. The agency quoted certainly one of its social employees reunification that is saying of family members “promotes security within the child’s life and eases the responsibility in the state to look after them.”

The ask for a grouped household for the occasion originated from Brownback’s workplace, stated Jenny Kutz, a spokeswoman for KVC Kansas, and KVC find the Zeferjohn family members.

“We find the household simply because they came across the criteria of recently reunified plus they could actually be involved in the picture in the brief notice given,” she stated.

But things quickly gone back towards the real means they always was during the Zeferjohn house, and within half a year the children had been back foster care, Kelly stated. Kutz wouldn’t normally comment, citing a privacy law that is federal.

Brownback resigned in 2018 to simply take a working work within the Trump management, serving as ambassador for religious freedom. He declined remark because of this tale. His successor, previous Gov. Jeff Colyer, rejected Zeferjohn’s very first request for clemency this past year, Kansas Department of Corrections records show. Colyer additionally declined to comment.

Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, stated she actually is considering Zeferjohn’s brand brand brand new ask for a pardon.

“The tale of Hope Zeferjohn is really a unfortunate one,” Kelly stated in a declaration to KCUR and also the Topeka Capital-Journal. “i am going to start thinking about every clemency demand I get after a complete procedure for developing facts sufficient reason for input from those impacted, but more to the point our state features a structural unlawful justice issue that should be addressed.”

Zeferjohn deserves a pardon you and I,” said her attorney, Vicki Smith because she was forced “to do things that would otherwise be unimaginable to. “She ended up being a kid. She ended up being a target. This really is just a matter of peoples justice.”

Countryman-Roswurm, pro bono lawyers as well as other advocates may also be wanting to work in the appropriate system to resolve the appropriate dilemmas when it comes to 12 other ladies who have actually instances much like Zeferjohn’s.

Efforts to alter state legislation are underway during the Kansas Legislature. Just last year, two bills had been introduced that demand putting away beliefs and documents in hopes of assisting young survivors associated with the intercourse trade. The bills got stuck in committee, said Benet Magnuson of Kansas Appleseed, a nonprofit justice that is social, but advocates aspire to bring them up once more this season.

Expected in the event that agency did adequate to assist girls like Hope, DCF Secretary Laura Howard?? said in a declaration that constant and improved efforts are required to avoid and minimize human being trafficking, recuperate runaway kids, link families and keep young ones safe.

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