Despite being teenagers, Jessica and Jordan Hampton are trafficking survivors currently incarcerated rather than rehabilitated. Instead of receiving care and help from the system, they have been criminalized and charged with capital murder.
Jessica was sexually abused from a young age by her uncle, who would drug her and assault her. At 14, she was lured away from her home to Colorado by a girl she thought she could trust. Jessica was sex trafficked and was not found until 10 months later during an FBI raid. After this, Jessica was sent to Children Of The Night in California, a program designed to help child trafficking victims. Unfortunately, in California, she had no real support system and ran away from the program with another girl. Both girls would wind up involved in a violent street gang. Here, Jessica was not only trafficked again, but was given drugs, beaten, and starved. At one point Jessica’s trafficker even attempted to burn her alive in a car. After months of turmoil, Jessica finally was able to return home. Once she came home, Jessica suffered from severe PTSD, but due to insurance purposes, she was unable to receive proper treatment. When Jessica returned, her younger brother, Jordan, began following Jessica around to try and protect her, despite only being 12 years old.
Later, Jessica started working at a local thrift store, where she met 24-year-old Breez Collier. Breez, knowing Jessica's past, befriended her with ulterior motives. Breez got Jessica back on meth, and met Jordan. Shortly afterward, Breez began grooming Jordan, convincing him that the abuse was actually love. Soon, Breez began trafficking both of the siblings, and used the guise of selling the siblings to rob people.
On June 14th, 2020, Breez used a website to solicit a man named Shareef Ali-Barnett, who had a prior conviction for buying sex. According to text messages, Breez is alleged to have intended to use Jordan and Jessica to facilitate a robbery. That night, Ali Barnett was shot and killed when he planned to buy them and rape them.
Despite being trafficking victims, the siblings were charged in connection to the shooting. Jessica was sent to the same facility as her trafficker and has allegedly been targeted by Breez and other inmates. Even more than this, despite having documented health issues, Jessica was placed in a cell with multiple cases of COVID-19.
Jordan has been through hell in the Bell County Juvenile Detention Facility. He’s been assaulted, sexually abused, and placed in solitary confinement. There was an alleged instance where Jordan was brutally beaten by an officer while being in handcuffs. “He’s not going to be able to be around people when he gets out. He ain't gonna trust nobody. It's sad, it's sad that you can throw away a life, a kid’s life, much less,” said Amy Pirkle Cage, the siblings’ mother. There is currently a 27-page complaint filed in federal court in regard to the abuse at the juvenile facility.
Recently, efforts in Texas to help trafficking victims through legislation, such as House Bill 1771, have failed. This bill aimed to give trafficking victims both protection and clemency under the law, but was instead vetoed by Governor Abbot. In his veto letter, Governor Abbot claimed to want to help trafficking victims, yet used to the terms “underage prostitute.” There is no such thing as an underage prostitute because children cannot consent to sex. Rather, they are rape victims. In Jessica’s case, the DA openly referred to Jessica as a prostitute in court, completely dismissing her struggle as a trafficking victim.
“My kids need help, not more trauma,” continued Amy. Prior to being trafficked, Jessica and Jordan were two loving kids, full of life and hope. Now, they’ve been held in jail for nearly two years while awaiting trial. We believe that incarceration is no place for these victims, and charging the siblings with crimes committed by their trafficker is an injustice. The system has failed Jessica before, and is now failing Jordan. Their trials are beginning, and they need your support. There is currently a change.org petition to help liberate Jessica and Jordan, please sign the petition and join the fight: https://www.change.org/p/bell-county-district-attorney-free-teen-sex-trafficking-victims-jessica-and-jordan-hampton
Interview with Amy Cage.