'Crystal' says she was tricked into prostitution through 'Sugar Daddy' site
Like so many others, the young woman we'll call "Crystal" thought it was safe enough, but soon learned she'd taken a dark turn.
"I never really had knowledge of how the game works," she said.
Crystal said she was young, naive, and short on money when she first saw a Sugar Daddy site on TV.
She said thought it'd be harmless and signed up.
"All these old dudes were messaging me," she said.
Then a woman named Toya Welburn messaged her, posing as a mentor, then setting up her date that she soon learned was meant specifically for sex.
"They basically told me right then and there what I had to do," said Crystal.
Raymond Doyle turned out to be Welburn's partner in a game of manipulation.
Crystal said they promised her a lot of money, and then a lucrative trip to Hawaii.
"They were saying 'if you're with us, you can have everything you want,'" she said.
But Crystal said she soon found herself trapped in a Waikiki hotel room and cut off from loved ones, until an undercover officer crossed her path.
"I remember I prayed that he would get me out of there," she said.
Court documents show predators use Sugar Daddy sites as recruiting tools.
The documents also report, sites such as Backpage are used as the front for prostitution.
"They may not have the letters 'Ph.D' next to their names, but they do have Ph.D.s in manipulation and coercion," said advocate Kathryn Xian.
She said Hawaii has now become one of the premiere spots for pimps to set up shop: a place packed with tourists, military and more, who are willing to pay top dollar.
"They're really not seeing this phenomenon of prostitution for what it is," said Xian.
"I was scared, because being a rat, you can get yourself and your family into a lot of trouble," said Crystal.
After escaping her ordeal, she not only exposed her pimps, but followed through in court.
In July, Doyle and Welburn were convicted of promoting prostitution.
Crystal said her message today is for the girls they hurt.
"They're worth a lot more than they think. They're worth a lot more than that $140 they get," she said.
Crystal said, all told, she was paid only about $50.
Doyle and Welburn will be sentenced in October.
They could get up to 10 years behind bars, or get out with time served.
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