According to an article in the Atlanta Black Star, Jason Roger Pope, a white South Carolina promoter and popular disc jockey better known as DJ Kid, has been indicted on charges relating to human trafficking and child sex crimes. Pope’s claims suggest he may have participated in the trafficking, assault, and/or rapes of nearly 700—primarily under-aged—African American girls between the summers of 2017 and 2019. Victims as young as thirteen testified that Pope forced them to perform sex acts in exchange for items such as money and drugs.
Pope is currently being held in jail without bond. His charges include three counts of trafficking in persons and first-degree criminal sexual conduct along with a count each of kidnapping, second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and promoting the prostitution of a minor. Though diagnosed with AIDS in a state where intentionally infecting or exposing another to the disease constitutes a criminal offense, he is yet to be charged with such an offense.
On his active Facebook page, Pope wrote, “I’m 36 with 693 BODIES (All Black females), WBU?” In an album called “DJ KID (PARTIES & GIRLS — Part 1)” there are numerous photographs depicting Pope in inappropriate, sexually-charged poses with under-aged African American girls. An unidentified neighbor testified to witnessing young girls enter Pope’s abode, many of whom would stay for short periods before vanishing into thin air.
A female relative of Pope reportedly contacted police in mid-2018, claiming the defendant would pay underage girls to perform sex acts and later post about the encounters online, but her concerns were ignored. Pope has police records going as far back as 2011 relating to sexual misconduct with minors. Several victims claimed he would recruit girls by distributing posters promoting his work as a DJ and by bribing them.
Human trafficking is an expansive underground market. It frequently goes unnoticed or underreported. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it is estimated that, globally, 94 percent of humans trafficked for sex consist of women and girls. More than 50 percent of active criminal human trafficking cases in the US involved solely children in fiscal year 2018. The Human Trafficking Source notes that African American women and girls are affected by sex trafficking disproportionately, making up 40 percent of the racial demographic. Some 55 percent of all people arrested for juvenile prostitution—the often-forcible prostitution of underaged girls—are African American.
Corporate media coverage of Pope’s arrest and indictment has been sparse, especially relative to the scale of his crimes. A vast portion of coverage has been provided by independent news sources, including Essence, NewsOne, and the Atlantic Black Star, dedicated to news addressing matters affecting the African American community. Larger media corporations such as ABC reported the story in selected markets via their local affiliate stations. For example, WPDE, the ABC-affiliate in Conway, SC, embarked on a detailed investigation into Pope’s criminal past, yet refrained from referring to the personal testimonies scattered throughout independent media’s coverage of the matter. Their reporting was never picked up by the national network. As opposed to the vast majority of independent sources, the WPDE report did not address the race of African American sex trafficking victims, focusing overall on Pope’s criminal past while skirting the racial-fueled aspect of his crimes.
Tanasia Kenney, “’693 Bodies…All Black’: White S.C. Man Accused of Trafficking, Kidnapping Underage Girls for Sex Withdraws Request for Bond, May Have More Victims,” Atlanta Black Star, November 20, 2019, atlantablackstar.com/2019/10/17/693-bodies-all-black-white-s-c-man-accused-of-trafficking-kidnapping-underage-girls-for-sex-withdraws-request-for-bond-may-have-more-victims/.
Paula Rogo, “South Carolina DJ Accused of Trafficking and Sexual Crimes Against Black Girls,” Essence, October 19, 2019, www.essence.com/news/south-carolina-dj-human-trafficking-black-girls/.
“Everything to Know About the White Man Who May Have Sex Trafficked Nearly 700 Black Girls,” NewsOne, October 18, 2019, newsone.com/3890531/jason-roger-pope-dj-kid-sex-trafficking/.
Student Researcher: Melissa Harden (North Central College)
Faculty Evaluator: Steve Macek (North Central College)