Prostitution too close to home

The news about a prostitution ring in Fort Worth, TX is making the rounds (the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Associated Press have articles). This case is garnering particular interest because those running the ring were teenagers. You can read more elsewhere on-line, but here’s the short version: Seven Fort Worth gang members were arrested in mid-January for prostituting at least five young girls (ages 12 – 16). The gang members threatened, beat-up, and sexually assaulted the girls to make them take part. The accused gang members ranged in age from 15 to 19, and included one girl. The Fort Worth police say that gang members’ interest in making money seems to be going up, and that this prostitution ring is just one example of that trend.

Forced prostitution is one of the most heinous crimes that we humans visit on each other. That teenagers, relatively young ones, were taking part in such unthinkable acts against their peers is a hallmark of how dramatically wrong our society has gone, particularly in the realms of sex and sexuality.

I am, at the moment, simply speechless.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Remember what I said about teenagers not being able to be sexually immoral? I think I’m going to have to change that stance.

    Wow. Yeah, I don’t know what to say either.

  2. I hadn’t heard about this yet and appreciate the heads up. I do want to just caution about using statements like: “…is a hallmark of how dramatically wrong our society has gone, particularly in the realms of sex and sexuality.” I agree that this situation in Texas is terrible news, but MOST teenagers don’t do things like this. Millions and millions of them, indeed probably 99% of them, every day, all over the world, live honest lives, respect their peers, work hard, love life and strive for the good, as do most people. If our media reported on the overwhelming number of positive things that happen every day on this planet, we would all feel a whole lot more hopeful and empowered. I look forward to the day when families become a priority of our federal and state budgets so all children and all parents have the support they need to live healthy lives.

  3. Margaret,

    While I agree that the vast majority of teenagers live upstanding lives, and are mostly delightful people, I believe that our society has gone very, very wrong in how it approaches sex and sexuality. Adults are far too often unkind, disrespectful, malicious, controlling, and denigrating in their approach to sex and sexuality. That any young person anywhere has directed such horrible acts suggests to me that it is even worse than I thought.

    So what I mean to say, and I regret if it did not come across this way in my post, is that adults need to take complete responsibility for what the Fort Worth teenagers did. Their act is a judgment in on our inability to respectful interact with each other around issues of sex and sexuality. And furthermore, it is a strong statement about the absolute lack of appropriate sexuality education in Texas – and probably other places as well.

  4. I absolutely agree that adults need to step up and take responsibility for the actions of these teenagers. There may not have been any one thing that went wrong in these kids’ lives that caused them to do this horrible thing, but there is obviously an extreme lack of proper guidance that goes back a long, long way.

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