Kansas Made This Sex Trafficking Survivor A Criminal — She Wishes Another Possibility

Kansas Made This Sex Trafficking Survivor A Criminal — She Wishes Another Possibility

Hope Joy Zeferjohn had been lacking through the Kansas Capitol in the time her household ended up being posing for photos aided by the governor.

It absolutely was might 22, 2015, and then-Gov. Sam Brownback ended up being signing a proclamation for Family Reunification Month.

Zeferjohn’s parents and siblings endured behind him, literal poster kids for Brownback’s efforts to go back kiddies for their houses from foster care.

But Zeferjohn, 16, was at state custody in Salina, currently underneath the control that is violent of guy whom trafficked her for intercourse.

Per year following the picture had been taken, Zeferjohn ended up being charged in June 2016 with 10 felonies, including aggravated human being trafficking. She had been 17. Despite federal and state rules that bar prosecuting young ones for prostitution, Zeferjohn is serving a almost six-year phrase in the Topeka Correctional Facility and certainly will invest an eternity from their state intercourse offender registry.

“I deserve another opportunity,” said Zeferjohn, now 21, that is looking for a pardon from Gov. Laura Kelly. “As long I can offer aspire to individuals. when I have hope,”

The Kansas Sentencing Commission claims trafficking that is human, whether for males or ladies at all ages, are uncommon and they are frequently pleaded down seriously to other reduced crimes.

But advocates for trafficking survivors say misguided unlawful charging, additionally the ensuing plea deals reached in instances like Zeferjohn’s, tend to be more typical than state documents suggest.

Along side Zeferjohn, a dozen other young women are dealing with unlawful prosecutions after being positioned in state custody, operating away, and dropping prey to intercourse traffickers as they had been minors, said Karen Countryman-Roswurm, manager associated with Center for fighting individual Trafficking at Wichita State University.

“We’ve waged war regarding the really populace we were going to serve,” she said that individuals said.

Prosecutors protect their situation against Zeferjohn, saying she victimized other girls.

“How do you cope with someone like Hope Zeferjohn?” stated Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay. “If you give a pass to any or all would you the type of things skip Zeferjohn did? we don’t realize that culture really wishes that to take place.”

A tomboy that is freckle-faced

Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn had been the child that is second to Terry and Melody Zeferjohn. It had been Terry’s marriage that is third and then he had two other kids from previous relationships. He’d sooner or later have six with Melody.

A Topeka cab driver for two decades, Terry Zeferjohn passed away in September 2018. Obese as well as on impairment, his house had been violent and bad, and then he ended up being constantly interested in earnings, stated Stacey Kelly, one of is own ex-girlfriends together with mom of just one of their young ones.

Kelly stayed near to the grouped family members and it is Hope Zeferjohn’s godmother. She recalls Terry telling their daughters: “You bleed, you breed,” meaning once they arrived of age they ought to begin having kiddies.

“The only reason which they had young ones ended up being so they really could easily get more assistance, any kind of help,” Kelly stated.

Nevertheless, Hope Zeferjohn continues to be dedicated to her moms and dads.

“It might be good sometimes,” Zeferjohn said of this house. “Sometimes it could be hectic as a result of many of us children. Personally I think like they raised us as most readily useful they can and so they did quite a good work from it.”

As a young child, Hope Joy lived as much as her title, Kelly stated, explaining her as a sweet, freckle-faced tomboy whom liked to be outside.

Zeferjohn was simply 14 when her older sister brought 24-year-old Anthony “Angel” longer into the house. very long had accurate documentation, having been charged in 2013 with domestic battery pack, attack and threat that is criminal an ex-girlfriend.

Terry Zeferjohn welcomed him being buddy, Kelly stated, adding that Long usually remained instantly.

In 2014, police arrived at the home in response to a call about a fight between Hope and another one of the children january. Officers discovered neglect and a deep failing to deliver the young young ones to college.

“When the authorities arrived to your home, it had been packed with feces, high in trash and clothing every-where. Roaches had been away in the daytime since they had been therefore infested,” Kelly stated. “And that they had terrible, terrible, terrible bedbugs.”

The Kansas Department for kids and Families arranged for Kelly to just simply just take three associated with girls. Zeferjohn, then 15, ended up being delivered to an “out-of-home placement” in Salina, her phrase for the misdemeanor battery pack fee. She had been sentenced in August 2014 to 16 months within the custody for the Department of Corrections, within the juvenile offender system.

“It looks nearly the same as foster care,” said Randy Bowman, a DOC spokesman.

Zeferjohn graduated from senior school and purchased her first automobile whilst in state custody. She additionally got gave and pregnant birth to her son, Tye, in March 2015.

The system ‘failed me’

Then Long showed up in Salina. He discovered Zeferjohn during the early 2015 by tricking authorities into providing him her location.

It failed me, that’s how I feel,” Zeferjohn said of the state system“For me. “It allowed Anthony to get my address out, where I became staying, by pretending like he had been my dad.”

Zeferjohn and longer had a relationship that quickly switched abusive. She makes use of his two names that are different explain their two edges.

“I loved Angel, okay, as he managed me personally good and everything,” she stated. “And then as he became all rude I became like, ‘Where could be the one I love?’ That’s a new Anthony. Many people set up a unique side it’s maybe not the actual them. so that you can fall deeply in love with, but”

He started to simply just take videos of those sex that is having which he offered, Zeferjohn stated. Every detail was controlled by him inside her life.

“I happened to be such as the prisoner and then he ended up being such as for instance a warden,” she said. “Coming to jail, it is maybe perhaps not adjustment that is not any big me, which will be pretty bad. I’d no option but to obey him.”

Longer brought Zeferjohn back once again to Topeka, where, based on court papers, he forced her to recruit other girls for their prostitution company, sometimes through Facebook. Long went the procedure from the household member’s house, Zeferjohn stated.

Kelly remembers Zeferjohn saying she ended up being the “house mom,” cleaning, cooking and keeping the other girls lined up.

“(Hope) began prostituting and bringing home cash,” Kelly stated, “and if she didn’t give her cash to him, it absolutely was likely to be hell to cover.”

The hell included beatings – Zeferjohn said these were therefore serious that she miscarried twice. Long threatened to hurt her son and anybody close to her if she disobeyed, she stated.

“He destroyed my entire life,” Zeferjohn stated. “He tried to destroy me personally twice and I also attempted to think I have to go, i have to get out,’ but I’m stuck in this entire situation. about this like ‘”

Eventually, Zeferjohn and Long traveled to nyc, where Long had household. Here, she said, she ended up being arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart. Whenever police discovered she was returned to the state that she was a runaway from Kansas.

In June 2016, Zeferjohn ended up being charged as a grownup with 10 felonies: aggravated human trafficking; conspiracy to commit rape; conspiracy to commit aggravated unlawful sodomy; indecent solicitation of a young child; electronic solicitation of a child; aggravated intimidation and unlawful danger. She has also been faced with two misdemeanors: endangering a young kid and adding to a child’s misconduct or starvation.

The costs stem from the time Zeferjohn recruited a girl that is 14-year-old came across whilst in located in a foster house, court papers reveal. Hope introduced very Long to your woman through Twitter, where longer ended up being employing a false identification. Very very Long provided to allow girl reside if she told police, court records say with them in exchange for sex, and threatened to kill her. The lady reached off to Zeferjohn, who “ordered” her to submit to longer, court papers state.

An www.brightbrides.net/guatemala-brides/ additional example, Zeferjohn recruited a girl that is 15-year-old offering her medications, which Long then provided, needing both girls to possess intercourse with him as re re payment, court papers reveal. longer took pictures regarding the woman and told her they certainly were for “johns,” according to court papers.

The girl that is 15-year-old this to authorities, stated Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, and longer ended up being arrested. Later on, Zeferjohn reached off to the lady and connected her back once again to longer, who had been away from prison. Court papers state longer and Zeferjohn retaliated several times, including once forcing the lady to attend Junction City, where she had been offered to a guy and designed to remain in a motel space for a week-end where she obtained $6,000 for very long.