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Sex Trafficking Case: Alleged Gangsters Charged
Alleged gang members who are accused of branding prostitutes with barcodes and tattoos, and trading them "as if they were property", have been charged following an investigation into sex trafficking.
The group of 24 men and women are said to be part of a criminal enterprise that spanned 46 cities in 23 states.
They allegedly used Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to lure girls and women, posting rap videos and making promises of glamorous lifestyles.
Victims are said to have been branded with tattoos and barcodes and sold or gifted among gang members.
US attorney Laura Duffy said: "The kind of sex trafficking described in this indictment is nothing less than modern-day slavery.
"Unfortunately, more gangs are expanding from traditional pursuits like drug dealing into this lucrative business.
"These gangsters are preying upon our youth and we are using every law enforcement resource to keep our children and our communities safe from these predators."
The defendants, who are accused of being part of the BMS group based in San Diego's North Park district, have been charged with racketeering including sex trafficking, murder, kidnapping, robbery and drug-related crimes.
Of the 24 indicted, 14 could be jailed for life if convicted because the charges against them include sex trafficking of a minor, sex trafficking by force or transportation of minors for prostitution.
The US Justice Department said 49 women and 11 girls were offered help to start a new life.
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