SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors have filed sex trafficking charges against a man who, according to the criminal complaint, was named by a teen trafficking victim as the girl’s pimp during a traffic stop last year.
Kenneth Sparks, 34, was charged in late July with sex trafficking of a minor, a federal offense that carries a minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of life. He was released from pretrial detention earlier this week after posting $25,000 bond, court records show.
The case against Sparks is based largely upon an interview with the girl — referred to in court records only as “Minor Victim” — as well as recorded text message conversations seized by police.
It all started July 30, 2019, when San Francisco police pulled over a Sparks’ Lexus and noticed the girl in his passenger seat. In a search of the car, police found a loaded semi-automatic pistol, a black ski mask, and evidence of sex trafficking that included, “women’s denim cutoff shorts, a see-through lace camisole, a black dress, clear plastic high-heeled stiletto shoes, condoms, condom wrappers, cash, hotel key cards, and a blue wig,” according to the complaint.
When officers interviewed the girl, she identified Sparks as her pimp since late 2018. She said they met in Oakland, when she asked him for a ride home. Instead, he took her to San Francisco and “made her work as a prostitute,” an FBI agent wrote in the criminal complaint.
As things progressed, he allegedly posted online prostitution ads of the girl, she told police. When she was too tired to work into the night, he would force her to use cocaine, she alleged.
The girl told police that when she informed Sparks she wanted to stop, he would be “verbally abusive,” according to the complaint. She recounted one time where he allegedly punched in the side of her head, telling her afterwards to, “Cover it up with makeup, you’ll be fine.”
“I hit these b—–s, I can hit you too,” she said he told her, according to the complaint.
Authorities found text messages on the girl’s phone where the two discussed money for prostitution as well as her going to “the blade” — slang for a neighborhood known for prostitution. Sparks told her one day they would build a future and, “travel our country Mexico San Diego la London just winning (sic).”
The girl told authorities she initially pretended to be 18 or 19, though she was just 16 years old when they met. When she revealed to Sparks, months later, that she was 17 at the time, he told her he was well-aware, she told police.
“Sparks’ response to discovering that the Minor Victim was 17 years old was, ‘I always knew you were underage, little b—-,’” an FBI agent wrote in the complaint.
Sparks waived time to next appear in court until Aug. 28, according to court records.