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

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

Hope Joy Zeferjohn ended up being lacking through the Kansas Capitol in the her family was posing for pictures with the governor day.

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

Zeferjohn’s parents and siblings endured behind him, literal poster kiddies 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 violent control of 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 ended up being 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 center and certainly will invest an eternity from the state intercourse offender registry.

“I deserve another opportunity,” said Zeferjohn, now 21, who’s 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 females at all ages, are rare and they are usually pleaded down seriously to other reduced crimes.

But advocates for trafficking survivors say misguided charging that is criminal as well as the ensuing plea deals reached in instances like Zeferjohn’s, are far more typical than state documents suggest.

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

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

Prosecutors defend their instance against Zeferjohn, saying she victimized other girls.

“How do you cope with someone like Hope Zeferjohn?” said Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay. “If you give a pass to everyone else would you the kind of things skip Zeferjohn did? We don’t understand that culture really wishes that to take place.”

A tomboy that is freckle-faced

Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn ended up being the child that is second to Terry and Melody Zeferjohn. It absolutely was Terry’s 3rd wedding, in which he had two other young ones from past relationships. He would sooner or later have six with Melody.

A Topeka cab motorist for two decades, Terry Zeferjohn passed away in 2018 september. Overweight as well as on impairment, their house ended up being poor and violent, and he had been constantly trying to find earnings, stated Stacey Kelly, one of his true ex-girlfriends while the mother of one of their kids.

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

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

Still, Hope Zeferjohn stays specialized in her parents.

“It might be good often,” Zeferjohn said associated with the house. “Sometimes it may be hectic due to many of us young ones. Personally I think like they raised us as most readily useful they can as well as did a fairly good work from it.”

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

Zeferjohn ended up being simply 14 whenever her older sister brought Anthony that is 24-year-old“Angel to your house. Longer had an archive, having been charged in 2013 with domestic battery pack, attack and threat that is criminal an ex-girlfriend.

Terry Zeferjohn welcomed him as being buddy, Kelly said, adding that longer usually remained immediately.

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 children to college.

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

The Kansas Department for kids and Families arranged for Kelly to just take three associated with the girls. Zeferjohn, then 15, ended up being 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 associated with 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 high school and purchased her car that is first while 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 in very early 2015 by tricking authorities into offering him her location.

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

Zeferjohn and longer possessed a relationship that quickly switched abusive. She uses their two various names to explain their two edges.

“I loved Angel, okay, as he managed me good and everything,” she stated. “And then as he became all rude I happened to be like, ‘Where may be the one we love?’ That’s a different sort of Anthony. Many people set up a unique part to help you fall deeply in love with, however it’s perhaps not the real them.”

He begun to simply take videos of these making love, that he offered, Zeferjohn stated. He managed every information in her life.

“I became just like the prisoner in which he had been just like a warden,” she said. “Coming to prison, it is perhaps not adjustment that isn’t any big me, that will be pretty bad. No choice was had by me but to obey him.”

Long brought Zeferjohn back once again to Topeka, where, based on court papers, she was forced by him to recruit other girls for their prostitution company, often through Facebook. Long went the operation from the household member’s house, Zeferjohn stated.

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

“(Hope) started prostituting and bringing house cash,” Kelly said, “and if she didn’t offer her cash to him, it absolutely was likely to be hell to cover.”

The hell included beatings – Zeferjohn said they certainly were therefore serious that she miscarried twice. Long threatened to hurt her son and anyone near 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 about any of it like ‘i must get, i must get out,’ but I’m stuck in this entire situation.”

Fundamentally, Zeferjohn mail order mexican brides and longer traveled to nyc, where longer had family members. Here, she stated, she had been arrested for shoplifting at a Walmart. Whenever police discovered that she had been a runaway from Kansas, she had been gone back to their state.

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 criminal sodomy; indecent solicitation of a kid; electronic solicitation of a young child; aggravated intimidation and unlawful hazard. She has also been faced with two misdemeanors: endangering youngster and adding to a child’s misconduct or starvation.

The costs stem from the time Zeferjohn recruited a 14-year-old woman she came across whilst in staying in a foster house, court papers reveal. Hope introduced very Long into the woman through Twitter, where longer had been utilizing a false identification. Long provided to allow the 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, documents say.

An additional instance, Zeferjohn recruited a 15-year-old woman by providing her medications, which very very Long then provided, needing both girls to own sex with him as re re payment, court papers reveal. Very Long took pictures associated with the woman and told her these people 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 had been arrested. Later on, Zeferjohn reached off to the lady and connected her back again to longer, who was simply away from jail. Documents state 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 built to stay static in a motel space for a week-end where she received $6,000 for very long.