Kansas Made This Sex Trafficking Survivor A Criminal — another Chance is wanted by her
Hope Joy Zeferjohn ended up being lacking through the Kansas Capitol in the her family was posing for pictures with the governor day.
It absolutely was May 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 young ones with their houses from foster care.
But Zeferjohn, 16, was at state custody in Salina, already beneath the violent control over a man 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 an eternity regarding 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 can offer aspire to individuals. when I have hope,”
The Kansas Sentencing Commission says individual trafficking fees, whether for males or ladies at all ages, are unusual as they are frequently pleaded down seriously to other smaller crimes.
But advocates for trafficking survivors say misguided charging that is criminal plus the ensuing plea deals reached in instances like Zeferjohn’s, tend to be more typical than state documents suggest.
A dozen other young women are facing criminal prosecutions after being placed in state custody, running away, and falling prey to sex traffickers while they were minors, said Karen Countryman-Roswurm, director of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking at Wichita State University along with Zeferjohn.
“We’ve waged war from the really populace that people stated we had been planning to provide,” she said.
Prosecutors protect their situation against Zeferjohn, saying she victimized other girls.
“How do you handle someone like Hope Zeferjohn?” stated Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay. “If you give a pass to everybody would you the kind of things skip Zeferjohn did? I don’t understand that culture actually desires that to take place.”
A freckle-faced tomboy
Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn had been the 2nd kid created to Terry and Melody Zeferjohn. It absolutely was Terry’s marriage that is third in which he had two other young ones from past relationships. He’d sooner or later have six with Melody.
A Topeka cab motorist for twenty years, Terry Zeferjohn passed away in 2018 september. Overweight as well as on impairment, their house had been poor and violent, and then he was constantly to locate earnings, stated Stacey Kelly, one of is own ex-girlfriends as well as the mom of just one of their kids.
Kelly stayed near the grouped household and it is Hope Zeferjohn’s godmother. She recalls Terry telling their daughters: “You bleed, you breed,” meaning if they arrived of age they need to begin having kids.
“The only reason which they had young ones ended up being so that they might get more assistance, any type of help,” Kelly stated.
Nevertheless, Hope Zeferjohn continues to be dedicated to her moms and dads.
“It might be good sometimes,” Zeferjohn said regarding the house. “Sometimes it could be hectic as a result of most of us young ones. Personally I think as best they can and additionally they did a fairly good task from it. like they raised us”
As a young child, Hope Joy lived as much as her title, Kelly said, explaining 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 into the home. Longer had accurate documentation, having been charged in 2013 with domestic battery pack, attack and unlawful risk against an ex-girlfriend.
Terry Zeferjohn welcomed him as a close friend, Kelly said, adding that longer usually remained instantly.
In January 2014, authorities arrived during the house in response to a call of a fight between Hope and a differnt one associated with the kids. Officers discovered neglect and a deep failing to deliver the children to college.
“When the authorities arrived to your home, it had been saturated in feces, saturated in trash and clothing every-where. Roaches had been call at the daytime since they had been therefore infested,” Kelly stated. “And that they had terrible, horrible, terrible bedbugs.”
The Kansas Department for the kids and Families arranged for Kelly to simply take three of this girls. Zeferjohn, then 15, ended up being delivered to an “out-of-home positioning” in Salina, her phrase for the misdemeanor battery pack cost. She ended up being sentenced in August 2014 to 16 months into the custody regarding the Department of Corrections, within the juvenile offender system.
“It looks a lot like foster care,” said Randy Bowman, a DOC spokesman.
Zeferjohn graduated from twelfth grade and purchased her car that is first while state custody. She additionally got expecting and offered delivery to her son, Tye, in March 2015.
The machine ‘failed me’
Then very Long showed up in Salina. He found Zeferjohn at the beginning of 2015 by tricking authorities into offering him her location.
It failed me, that’s how I feel,” Zeferjohn said of the state system“For me. “It permitted Anthony to get away my target, where I became remaining, by pretending like he had been my dad.”
Zeferjohn and longer had a relationship that quickly turned abusive. She utilizes their two various names to describe their two sides.
“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 could be the one we love?’ That’s a new Anthony. Many people set up an alternate part it’s perhaps not the true them. for you really to fall deeply in love with, but”
He started to simply simply take videos of these sex, which he offered, Zeferjohn stated. He managed every information in her life.
“I happened to be just like the prisoner in which he ended up being just like a warden,” she said. “Coming to jail, it is not no big adjustment to me, that will be pretty bad. No choice was had by me but to obey him.”
Long brought Zeferjohn back into Topeka, where, in accordance with court papers, she was forced by him to recruit other girls for their prostitution company, often through Facebook. Very very very Long went the operation from the grouped household member’s home, Zeferjohn stated.
Kelly remembers Zeferjohn saying she ended up being the “house mom,” cleaning, cooking and keeping the other girls in line.
“(Hope) began prostituting and bringing house cash,” Kelly stated, “and him, it had been likely to be hell to pay for. if she didn’t offer 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 stated. “He attempted to destroy me twice and I also attempted to think about it like ‘i find australian wife at mail-order-bride.net must get, i have to get out,’ but I’m stuck in this entire situation.”
Fundamentally, Zeferjohn and longer traveled to nyc, where longer had family members. Here, she stated, 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 had been charged as a grown-up with 10 felonies: aggravated human trafficking; conspiracy to commit rape; conspiracy to commit aggravated unlawful sodomy; indecent solicitation of a kid; electronic solicitation of a kid; aggravated intimidation and unlawful danger. She has also been faced with two misdemeanors: endangering kid and adding to a child’s misconduct or starvation.
The fees stem from the time Zeferjohn recruited a 14-year-old girl she came across whilst in residing in a foster house, documents reveal. Hope introduced very very Long towards the woman through Twitter, where longer ended up being making use of a false identification. very Long offered to allow the girl reside together with them in return for intercourse, and threatened to destroy her if she told police, court public records state. The lady reached off to Zeferjohn, who “ordered” her to submit to longer, documents state.
An additional example, 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 payment, court papers show. Very longer took pictures associated with woman and told her these 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 away to the lady and connected her back again to longer, who had been away from prison. Court papers say longer and Zeferjohn retaliated times that are several including once forcing the girl to attend Junction City, where she had been offered to a person and designed to stay static in a motel space for a week-end where she attained $6,000 for very long.