In this week's City Paper, James Nix investigates the sex trafficking trade in Nashville and around the country. The cover story, titled "Faced with pervasive sex trafficking, law enforcement and nonprofits take aim," hit the stands this morning, just 10 days before the Trafficking in America Task Force begins its annual conference at the Holiday Inn Opryland/Airport.
Nashville, with its central location as a crossroads of interstate traffic, finds itself firmly entrenched on the trafficking circuit, which links other nearby cities like Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Clarksville and Birmingham, Ala.
In August, police charged Prontiss Houseworth, who turned 19 this January, with trafficking sexual servitude after a detective answered an Backpage.com ad for a “two-girl special.”
At the Knights Inn motel on Spring Street, police said they found two women who told detectives that Houseworth had taken them from Atlanta and driven them to Nashville, with the safety locks on the car doors engaged so they couldn’t escape. They said Houseworth told them he was their pimp now, they were in his “game,” and threatened to use violence against them or their families if they didn’t do as he said.
Disclosure: Backpage.com has signed marketing agreements with a number of alternative weeklies around the U.S., including the Nashville Scene. The Scene and The City Paper are owned by SouthComm.