Casa Del Mar

From the Blog

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

Hope Joy Zeferjohn had been lacking through the Kansas Capitol from the her family was posing for pictures with the governor day.

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

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

But Zeferjohn, 16, was at state custody in Salina, currently beneath the violent control over a guy whom trafficked her for intercourse.

Per year following the picture ended up being taken, Zeferjohn had been charged in June 2016 with 10 felonies, including aggravated human being trafficking. She had been 17. Despite federal and state guidelines that bar prosecuting young ones for prostitution, Zeferjohn is serving a almost six-year phrase in the Topeka Correctional center and certainly will invest a very long time in the 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 am able to offer aspire to individuals. when I have hope,”

The Kansas Sentencing Commission states trafficking that is human, whether for males or females at all ages, are unusual consequently they are frequently pleaded down seriously to other reduced crimes.

But advocates for trafficking survivors say misguided unlawful charging, together with ensuing plea deals reached in instances like Zeferjohn’s, are far more typical than state documents suggest.

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

“We’ve waged war in the extremely populace that individuals stated we had been likely to provide,” she said.

Prosecutors protect their instance 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 provide a pass to everybody would you the kind of things Miss Zeferjohn did? We don’t understand that culture really wishes that to take place.”

A tomboy that is freckle-faced

Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn had been the 2nd youngster created to Terry and Melody Zeferjohn. It had been Terry’s marriage that is third in which he had two other kiddies from past relationships. He would fundamentally have six with Melody.

A Topeka cab motorist for two decades, Terry Zeferjohn passed away in 2018 september. Obese as well as on disability, their home had been violent and bad, in which he had been constantly hunting for income, stated Stacey Kelly, one of his true ex-girlfriends together with mom of 1 of their young ones.

Kelly remained near the household and it is Hope Zeferjohn’s godmother. She recalls Terry telling their daughters: “You bleed, you breed,” meaning if they came of age they need to start having kids.

“The only reason they could get more help, any sort of assistance,” Kelly said that they had children was so.

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

“It might be good sometimes,” Zeferjohn said associated with home. “Sometimes it could be hectic due to most of us young ones. Personally I think as best they can in addition they did a fairly good task from it. like they raised bestrussianbrides us”

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

Zeferjohn ended up being simply 14 when her older sister brought 24-year-old Anthony “Angel” longer to your house. Long had an archive, having been charged in 2013 with domestic battery pack, attack and unlawful risk against an ex-girlfriend.

Terry Zeferjohn welcomed him as being buddy, Kelly stated, adding that longer 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 absolutely was filled with feces, filled with trash and garments 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 simply take three regarding the girls. Zeferjohn, then 15, had been delivered to an “out-of-home positioning” in Salina, her phrase for a misdemeanor battery pack fee. She ended up being sentenced in August 2014 to 16 months when you look at the custody of this Department of Corrections, within the offender program that is juvenile.

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

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

The machine ‘failed me’

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

“For me personally, it failed me, that’s the way I feel,” Zeferjohn said for the state system. “It permitted Anthony to locate away my address, where I happened to be remaining, by pretending like he had been my dad.”

Zeferjohn and longer possessed a relationship that quickly turned abusive. She utilizes their two names that are different explain their two edges.

He treated me good and everything,” she said“ I loved Angel, OK, when. “And then as he became all rude I happened to be like, ‘Where may be the one we love?’ That’s a new Anthony. Many people set up an unusual part to help you fall in deep love with, however it’s perhaps not the true them.”

He started to just simply take videos of these sex, that he offered, Zeferjohn stated. He managed every information inside her life.

“I happened to be just like the prisoner in which he ended up being such as a warden,” she said. “Coming to jail, it’s maybe perhaps perhaps not no big adjustment to me, that is pretty bad. No choice was had by me but to obey him.”

Longer brought Zeferjohn returning to Topeka, where, relating to court papers, he forced her to recruit other girls for their prostitution business, often through Facebook. Very very Long went the procedure from a household member’s house, Zeferjohn stated.

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

“(Hope) started prostituting and bringing house cash,” Kelly stated, “and him, it absolutely was likely to be hell to pay for. if she didn’t provide her money to”

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

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

Eventually, Zeferjohn and longer traveled to nyc, where longer had household. Here, she stated, she had been arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart. When police discovered she was returned to the state that she was a runaway from Kansas.

In June 2016, Zeferjohn had been 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 young child; aggravated intimidation and threat that is criminal. She ended up being additionally faced with two misdemeanors: endangering a young youngster and leading to a child’s misconduct or starvation.

The fees stem from the time Zeferjohn recruited a 14-year-old woman she came across whilst in surviving in a foster house, documents show. Hope introduced very very Long to your woman through Twitter, where longer ended up being utilizing 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. Your ex reached off to Zeferjohn, who “ordered” her to submit to longer, court papers state.

An additional example, Zeferjohn recruited a girl that is 15-year-old providing her drugs, which very very very Long then provided, needing both girls to own intercourse with him as re re re payment, documents reveal. Very longer took photos regarding the woman and told her these were for “johns,” according to court papers.

The girl that is 15-year-old this to authorities, said Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay, and Long had been arrested. Later on, Zeferjohn reached away to the lady and connected her back once again to Long, who was simply away from prison. Court papers say longer and Zeferjohn retaliated times that are several including once forcing the lady to attend Junction City, where she had been offered to a person and meant to stay static in a motel space for the week-end where she obtained $6,000 for very long.