BROOKLYN — A pair of East New York pimps lured nearly a dozen underage girls from out of state, drugged them, and forced them into prostitution, according to prosecutors.
Jonathan “Jayo” Harris, 25, and Tariq “Ricky” Washington, 23, were indicted this week on more than three dozen counts of sex trafficking, rape, promotion of prostitution, and other charges stemming from a brutal sex-trafficking operation they ran between March 2015 and December 2016, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
During that time the pair pimped out nine girls and young women, most between the ages of 15 and and 16, luring the majority of their victims from out of state and from as far away as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cleveland, prosecutors said.
In one case, an 18-year-old girl from Philadelphia escaped from Harris and Washington’s clutches and reported them to police nearly two months after she came to Brooklyn with a 17-year-old friend who left several days after arriving, prosecutors said. During that time Harris beat and raped her, according to the DA.
The two men typically located the women through ads on Backpage.com, prosecutors charged, the classifieds website criticized by victim advocates as a tool for traffickers that has also been defended by some sex workers as an alternative to working for predatory pimps.
As part of their operation, Harris and Washington rented motel rooms around Brooklyn for the women to use, plied the women with drugs, and sometimes beat them if they refused to engage in sex work, prosecutors said.
A grand jury indicted the pair on July 11, and Harris was arrested on July 21, while Washington was arrested Tuesday, prosecutors said. Both men face up to 25 years in prison, and are due back in court on Aug. 9.
Lawyers for the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.