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DC area man indicted in child sex trafficking case

A Temple Hills man has been charged with selling girls as young as 11 for sex on
the District’s popular prostitution track at 14th and K streets NW.

Shelby Lewis was indicted on five counts of child sex trafficking. Authorities say
the 42-year-old has been running his pimping operation since 2006. He was taken
into custody after District police arrested two of his alleged victims – ages 14
and 16 – while they walked the prostitution track in May. The two girls pointed to
Lewis as their pimp.

The charges come as anti-human-trafficking groups plan to post advertisements on

Metro buses, shelters and train stations designed to fight what they call modern
day slavery as part of D.C. Human Trafficking Awareness month.

Around the same time as the two May arrests, authorities also located a 13-year-
old girl who had been reported missing to the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children, prosecutors said. She told authorities Lewis had been
prostituting her for the last three years. A fourth victim claimed to have started
working for Lewis two years ago when she was 12.

When authorities searched Lewis’ house, they found photographs of “numerous

victims,” prosecutors said.

Now, bright yellow signs will be popping up on Metros buses, bus shelters and
train stations with messages such as “13 is the average age children are forced
into prostitution.”

Sponsored by Shared Hope International, the anti-human-trafficking advertisements

will also appear in the CityPaper’s adult classifieds and Wild Side sections, the
group announced Wednesday along with leading law enforcement officials in the

The CityPaper advertisements will remind potential johns that buying sex with a
child in D.C. can earn them a life sentence in prison, the same sentence Lewis
faces if he’s convicted.

The District has been identified as a sex trafficking hub, said Shared Hope
International President Linda Smith. But tough sentences for child traffickers
also make it “clear that D.C. refuses to be a playground for traffickers and
pimps,” Smith said.

Shared Hope works with local groups to prevent trafficking, and rescue and restore
victims of sexual slavery. It also studies the issue and recently released a
report that found at least 100,000 American children are prostituted in the United
States every year.