Dead Kids Walking – Herkimer’s $100 Million Child Trafficking Hub

Stephen Ames Berry

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jr.

About 300,000 kids are trafficked in the US at any given time. Until August 2016, we estimate that as many as 2,000 a year were moved through this Herkimer NY transfer point, operated out of 341 Eureka Avenue. Some of those kids are probably dead. 

Herkimer NY child trafficking hub 341 Eureka Avenue

This regional child trafficking hub distributed between 1,000 and 2,000 trafficked kids a year. It’s still used by Herkimer’s depraved Stanley Sykes gang, who fiercely protect it from nosy neighbors. Two of the Sykes gang’s houses on the child trafficking hub are owned by their longtime landlord, Jay Smith.

Humanrights.org estimates that each trafficked child nets his or her handlers $100,000 a year. That’s $100-200 million annual income from child trafficking victims hustled through a small Upstate New York village. Some of that money stayed in Herkimer. It helped ensure silence, cooperation, suffering and death: a sex-trafficked child lives about seven years.

These are some of our videos of dead kids walking.

Herkimer Child Traffickers Relocate

On August 20, 2016,  Herkimer’s long-time major child traffickers moved their final lot of kids through their 341 Eureka Avenue trafficking hub.  For months, we’d been the target of a successful campaign of  distraction that kept our security cam and our attention away from that neighboring lot. Only on the regional traffickers’ last day did we swing our backyard camera  on them, puzzled by the large  number of kids who’d suddenly appeared next door. They were whisked away almost as soon after they’d appeared.

“It’s just kids.” Trafficked Kids – Herkimer NY 8/14/16

This is the last consignment of kids being shipped through this Herkimer child trafficking transfer hub at 341 Eureka Avenue. It was a consolidation of three carloads of trafficked children. We had never before seen that many kids passing through at one time. We barely caught the arrival of the final carload on camera. The three vehicles then loaded up and moved on. The property was never used again as a major child trafficking hub.

A few days later the two young traffickers you see in the video, dubbed by us Little Mama and Pretty Boy, cleaned out and turned Herkimer’s premier child trafficking spot over to their most visible local ally, Stanley Sykes and his gang, for their own drug and child trafficking use. Stanley was heard to bellow that he paid a franchise fee for the trafficking rights. 

Herkimer a Haven for Child Trafficking

It’s not surprising that Herkimer, which has shrugged off wholesale drug trafficking, street assaults and waves of poison gas attacks, might not strain to see child trafficking in its many guises. Folks in this rural New York village have long been conditioned to mind their own business.

herkimer ny government
The Three Wise Monkeys of Herkimer

Herkimer Child Trafficking Stats

Only after Little Mama and Pretty Boy were gone did we realize that for over 2 years, we’d seen them trafficking about 20 – 40 children a week, right next door, with their Herkimer allies running interference. That’s about 1,000 – 2,000 kids a year. 

It’s estimated by humanrights.org that each sexually exploited trafficked child nets on average $100,000 a year to his or her captors. The potential profit  from the 1000 – 2000 children annually trafficked through Herkimer would be $100-200 million.

Child Trafficking by the Numbers

  • Over 300,000 kids a year are sex trafficked in the US, according to figures cited by the Ark of Hope for Children,  (Ark) which  works with rescued young sex trafficked survivors. Based on figures complied by Ark from humanrightrs.org, and extrapolating for children, the annual net profit for a sex trafficked child is about $100,000
  • Kids trafficked for sex range from 1 to 18 years old. Sex trafficking victims up to roughly 25 years old often started as young as 14. (Ark)
  • US human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry
  • Child trafficking’s a hugely profitable business with very low risk: In 2016, the Department of Justice convicted a total of 439 human traffickers, up from 297 in 2015 and 184 in 2014. (humanrights.org)

The Younger the Sex Trafficked Child, the Greater the Profit

Trafficked children 341 Eureka Ave Herkimer NY 8/20/16
8/14/16 Trafficked Children. 341 Eureka Avenue, Herkimer. (The girl doing her hair is probably not trafficked. She was usually seen with child trafficker Little Mama. We assumed she was Little Mama’s daughter and didn’t look closely at the other kids. As intended.)

Look at the above photo through the calculating  eyes of a child trafficking broker. (Yes, there are such people. Mostly women, we think. They exploit the missing mommy factor.) Which of these kids can you get the most for? Certainly the little girl in the yellow dress is prime. As are the two small girls by the car doors. Says the Ark of Hope for Children:

More money can be earned by [sexually exploited] younger girls and boys, especially virgins. Prepubescent girls are reported to be injected with hormones to bring on puberty. Younger girls are expected to have a greater earning potential, and as such are in greater demand. 

Herkimer NY – Bustling Child Trafficking Hub

Herkimer’s ideally sited for the center of an extensive child trafficking network. It’s just off of Route I-90, the New York State Turnpike, a major east-west interstate, and within a few hours of New York, Boston and Canada. 

We believe what we saw was primarily a brokerage operation, using Herkimer as a way point for newly acquired kids trafficked to Herkimer from Central New York and beyond, then quickly redistributed to the south and east to be broken in to serve the booming underground sex industry of our major metropolitan areas. (Herkimer’s a sparsely populated rural area.)

The needs of Herkimer area pedophiles are serviced by our regional gangs,  who sell, trade and rent local kids. They and the big time child traffickers appear to honor their non-compete agreements and cooperate on projects of mutual benefit, such as the production of online kiddie porn.

Herkimer national child trafficking hub
Herkimer NY’s ideally located to serve as a major hub of a nationwide child trafficking network. A carload of freshly obtained kids arriving in Herkimer can overnight be redistributed, broken in and placed into service within multiple US and Canada population centers.

Herkimer Child Trafficking–A Multi-Million Dollar Enterprise?

I don’t now what the child trafficking network compensation structure is. And there are obviously many partner syndicates involved in this trafficking cartel. Assume the procuring entity that also  operates the Herkimer child trafficking collection and distribution point receives a modest 10% brokers’ fee per trafficked child. Grant the assumption 1,000 – 2,000 kids a year begin their enslavement as child prostitutes here in Herkimer. The brokerage commission would be $10 – 20 million per year, conservatively. Some of it stays in Herkimer.

That much dirty money in a small struggling community like Herkimer buys a lot of cooperation and silence. And any who might speak up are at risk of their lives, as our poisoned bodies and home attest.

Then there are those kids, probably local and not part of the human trafficking pipeline, who  appear to be briefly stashed with some Herkimer area gang families, and sold or rented locally. We’ve seen a lot of kids come and go here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, shuffled from house to house.  After a while they vanish.

We’ve also seen some indication that Herkimer’s trafficked children have been used to make internet-based kiddie porn, produced and beamed on-line from here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. (The probable Herkimer kiddie porn film studio was abandoned, sold at tax auction.)

Herkimer Child Trafficking–Dead Kids Walking

Kids trafficked by Little Mama through our neighboring Herkimer location usually appeared freshly obtained, innocent of any knowledge of the abuse and brutality they’d soon suffer, prepped and moved into the underground sex trade. We’ve seen a lot of them. They seemed like nice kids. They could be your kids; they could be our kids.

The children  in these videos were trafficked through Herkimer 21 months ago. Unless rescued, they’ll probably  be dead in less than six years: 
“[The]…average life span of a [child trafficked for sex] is… 7 years, found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, overdose or suicide,” reports The Ark of Hope for Children.

For almost three years, we witlessly watched thousands of trafficked children slipped through this Herkimer parking lot. That’s a lot of dead kids. We’re so sorry we didn’t notice then. We now watch our neighborhood with new eyes.

Who are your kids with today?

See Something, Say Something
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Author:

This blog is my perspective on dwelling in our small village nestled among beautiful forests, farms and open landscapes. Educated in Israel and the US, I have an MS in Computer Science. My viewpoint has been shaped by world travel, friends and benefactors both strangers and people I know. Linda Kaidan