Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release.
A Guardian investigation has found that traffickers are using government websites to obtain personal information including mugshots, release dates and charge sheets to identify potential victims while they are still behind bars.
The investigation also found cases of the bail bond system being used in sex trafficking operations in at least five different states. Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.
Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention. Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail.
“If inmates are being targeted while inside our prisons and jails by predators, instead of being offered the chance of an alternative when they are released, then this is a systemic failing of our duty of care to some of our country’s most vulnerable women.”
The US Department of Justice declined to comment.