Accused pimp targeted ‘at-risk’ teen girls: court 0
This one is of of the crown giving her address to the court while the accused, Mr. Moazami, writes in the prisoner's box. (PHOTO FELICITY DON)
A man alleged to have pimped out 11 girls in the Lower Mainland would introduce the teens to a date-rape drug and substances such as cocaine before convincing them to have sex for money, the Crown prosecution said Wednesday.
The allegations are that the prostitution ring ran from February 2009 to October 2011.
In her opening statement at B.C. Supreme Court, Crown lawyer Damienne Darby said Reza Moazami — a man in his late 20s who faces about three-dozen counts of prostitution-related charges — would first tell the prostitutes he’d split sex proceeds 50-50 with them.
He would then take pictures, the court heard, and post them online in advertisements for what he called “escorting.”
Many had to see multiple clients a day and were encouraged to work more, the Crown said, and those who refused to work were met with either anger or gifts to get them to return.
He was known to keep all the money from those “gullible” enough to let him hold on to the cash for them, Darby continued.
“The evidence will show Moazami engaged in the systematic recruitment of vulnerable teenaged girls,” she told the judge.
“These were so-called at-risk girls who were recruited into prostitution for his own financial benefit.”
One victim estimated she made Moazami $40,000 in total by seeing five clients each day.
All the victims’ identities are banned under a court order. Some were homeless and needed money to afford a place to stay. Others met him through friends at school. A few more had used his services as a drug dealer — and partied with him — prior to running out of money and being offered a prostitution job.
All were between the ages of 14 to 19, Darby said.
In one incident, in which an alleged victim went to Moazami to get her money, the Crown alleged she was thrown into a bathtub at one of his dozen-or-so residences throughout Metro Vancouver and jabbed with a rod until neighbours heard the commotion and called police.
The trial continues on Friday, where it’s expected to hear its first witness. The victims, the Crown said outside court, are expected to testify in the coming weeks.