A Kansas man has been arrested by Kentucky authorities for allegedly trying to “buy” an 11-year-old girl, offering $250 in cash and a small amount of methamphetamine, the Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting.
Ernest Merle Anziana, 48, of Fredonia, Kansas, was allegedly lured by a sting; there was no 11-year-old girl involved in the case. Instead, the whole thing was an operation designed to catch would-be human traffickers.
It is not clear how Anziana first came into contact with the Cyber Crimes Branch of the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, posing as someone willing to offer up the girl for sex in exchange for money or drugs. However, using a cell phone and tablet that have both been since entered into evidence, Anziana allegedly at first expressed interest in paying for sex with the girl. However, Franklin Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker said Anziana was interested in more than just sex and that the conversations “evolved into a request to purchase the child.” Anziana allegedly offered $250 and an unknown quantity of crystal meth.
Becker said that Anziana’s intention was to impregnate the girl and then “keep” her.
Anziana, who has a previous conviction for incest out of Kansas, has been charged with one count of promoting human trafficking, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
— infowe (@infowe) February 7, 2018
He is currently being held in Kansas on $250,000 bond, pending extradition to Kentucky.
Although human sex trafficking evokes images of shady criminals in back alleys in third-world nations, it is actually a huge problem in the U.S., and it’s only getting bigger, according to a March 2017 CNN report.
In Atlanta alone, the illegal sex industry is believed to generate about $290 million per year. Girls as young as middle-school age, often in desperate situations at home, find themselves being lured into the service of pimps by peers pretending to be their friends. Plied with attention, drugs, and money, they often find themselves quickly drawn into the world of sexual slavery, with little chance of escape.
Similarly, according to a March 2017 KSHB-TV (Kansas City) report, human sex trafficking is similarly a problem in the Midwestern city. In hotels, truck stops, and parks across the area, human trafficking victims are often pimped out to customers. Authorities say that many of the victims don’t even know that they’re victims.