Young woman's discarded body an example of 'throwaway' society - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Young woman's discarded body an example of 'throwaway' society

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It's easy to miss the makeshift memorial to her on a quiet stretch of Tate Street. A FOX 26 News crew drove by the stone circle and little teddy bears tucked up against a fence twice without seeing it.

In a way, that's the story of Jonequa Brewster's life and death. She was to many a non-person. Just a prostitute who was disregarded and discarded. But people did love her. She was after all, somebody's child.

"I hate that I lost my baby like this. They just threw her to the curb like she was a piece of trash," says Brewster's mom Rose Ponder. She adds before her rape at age 9 by a relative, Brewster was an outgoing and friendly girl who dreamed of being a police officer or a doctor. Afterwards, all that changed. She turned to the streets and never came back.

"She was a beautiful young lady who go caught up in something, hanging around the wrong people," said Ponder.

The wrong people who introduced her to drugs at the age of 12 and prostitution at the age of 13. It went on for a decade. In 2012, police arrested Brewster for drug possession, just two months ago they arrested her for prostitution. Brewster's story was going to end badly unless she got some help. A few people tried but she always refused.

"She had been through a lot in life. Everything she was living through now. That's why she was in the streets. She was being pimped. She was getting beat. It was brutal," says her sister Oddessi Brewster.

This latest beating was the last one. Police say she had injuries to her torso and blunt force trauma to the head. They found her body on Monday on Tate Street near east Houston.

As sad as her story is, it's not unusual. Experts in human trafficking say most prostitutes get forced into the life between the ages of twelve and thirteen. Often they've suffered sexual abuse beforehand and get involved in drugs.

Houston and Harris County have been cracking down on human trafficking lately, from suing strip clubs to shutting down "hot sheet" motels that are havens for drugs and prostitution. The Sheriff's Office recently expanded its vice unit. But it's an uphill fight.

As long as there's a demand and there are tragic figures like Brewster, the battle will continue, and that means more grieving families.

"In my heart I still can't believe she's gone. Every night I look for her to knock on my door but I know she's not going to knock on my door anymore," says Ponder.

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