Mystery of missing ex-cheerleader groomed into sick sex-trafficking gang as teen

An ex-cheerleader groomed into a sex trafficking ring has been missing for over four years.

Aged 18, Corinna Slusser was sold the dream of leaving behind her small US town for life in New York City, only it soon became more like a nightmare.

While living with her mum, the teenager had been cashing in from so-called sugar daddies online but upon arrival in the Big Apple, her promises from an older man descended into prostitution.

Before Slusser knew it, photos of her were used as adverts across the internet for paid sex and she became a Bronx pimp's 'property'.

The former high school cheerleader – who had previously attempted to kill herself with drugs – left Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in summer 2017 and was reported missing just two months later.

Slusser's mum Sabina Tuorto has refused to give up tracking her down, even asking one of her violent pimps in court where she was.

Ms Tuorto recently told The NYPost: "My biggest fear is that I’ll never get closure, that I’ll never know what happened to her."

At the 2019 sentencing of evil Ishi Woney who allegedly pimped out Slusser at New York motels, the distraught mum begged him for information.

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She cried: "Is she dead or alive? Who is the last person he handed her off to? Please, Ishi, disclose where my child is.”

Woney replied: "Honestly, I don’t know.’’

No one has been charged with Slusso's September 20 2017 disappearance.

Ms Tuorto said: "It’s been four years but I still shouldn’t give up.

"Everybody tells me there’s a possibility she’s out there. That’s what I live off. I just pray to God, and I just keep trying to have faith."

Before she was groomed into packing her bags, life Slusser's rural town home appeared to spiral out of control.

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A tense relationship with her mum led Slusser to live with a friend, she then dropped out of school and developed a damaging drug and drink habit, according to her original missing-persons report.

Ms Tuorto said: "She was getting into trouble. She got fines, underage drinking. Honestly, I noticed that everything was changing with her.

"She was kind of out of control. I didn’t know how to handle her by myself. She packed all her clothes, and that was it. I never saw her again."

In April 2017 Slusser survived a suicide attempt and according to experts her online activity with men sending her money, made her ripe for exploitation.

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Lori Cohen, CEO of the anti-child-sex-trafficking group ECPAT-USA, said: "It is very common that teenagers will become ensnared with someone who promised them the sun and the moon and the stars, and the teenager might be looking for love … and also may feel that the parents and other responsible adults in the teen’s life just don’t understand her.

"Traffickers are very skilled at sniffing that out."

Investigators do not know who lured Slusser to New York, but it is understood Manhattan pimp Yhovanny Peguero, then 32, allegedly started selling her to sex buyers, NYPost reports.

After Slusser challenged Peguero about allegedly stealing $300 (£223) from her on August 25 2017, he slammed her against a wall, police sources have said.

Peguero sent her Facebook messages saying: "I just need for you to promise me that when u make that bread u are gonna give me every dollar and u are gonna let me give u [what] u need to buy your clothes and u are gonna let me deal with the rest."

Over a week later Slusser met sex trafficker Ishi Woney at a hotel known for "substantial sex trafficking activity". The pair exchanged more than 800 text messages between September 10 and 20, court documents say.

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Woney who was jailed for 15 years on sex-trafficking charges in 2019, also posted photos of her as prostitution adverts.

Slusser was last seen at a Motel on September 20 after falling out with Woney and contacting Peguero for help.

Ms Tuorto reported her missing as soon as she grew concerned that Slusser had stopped messaging her.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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