Woman jailed for pimping mentally challenged teen

A Winnipeg court room.

Credits: Brian Donogh/Winnipeg Sun


WINNIPEG -- A city woman recently acquitted in Manitoba's first-ever human-trafficking case admitted she groomed a mentally challenged teen to perform sex acts on city cab drivers for cash and used part of the proceeds to fuel a long-standing crack habit.

Theresa Peebles, 41, was handed a mandatory minimum two-year prison term Wednesday after pleading guilty to a charge of procuring-living off the avails of prostitution involving a girl under age 18.

Peebles befriended a vulnerable 17-year-old chronic runaway who has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Peebles "groomed and instructed" her to perform sex acts on an estimated 15-20 "dates" between May 14 and June 14 last summer, court heard.

"Oftentimes it was cab drivers and Ms. Peebles would be sitting in the back seat (while the victim) was in the front seat providing fellatio," Crown attorney Alanna Littman said. "Then the money would be given to Ms. Peebles..."

Peebles gained the girl's trust by providing her with food, shelter and clothing. At the time, the victim was considered AWOL and couldn't be located.

The criminal arrangement was uncovered after missing persons cops caught up with the girl, took her home and she spoke out about what happened.

Peebles was arrested Aug. 29. In her statement to police, she denied directly pimping the girl, but did say the two had worked the streets together.

She made a "partial admission" indicating she was "present and monitoring" the teen's sex transactions and would take the cash to buy drugs, booze and cigarettes for them to share, Judge Kelly Moar was told.

"It wasn't her running a stable of girls or anything of that nature," defence lawyer Pam Smith said.

Moar described Peebles as both a criminal and victim of the vicious cycle of addictions. She began abusing drugs at age 12.

"Although we speak of you being sentenced today -- being the 'bad person' in the sense of dragging someone in, I know that you've also come from that background," Moar said.

In August 2011, a human-trafficking case against Peebles fell apart at the start of her preliminary hearing. The case related to her alleged dealings with a 21-year-old northern Manitoba woman she took into her home.

It was the first-ever human trafficking charge laid in Manitoba since the federal government added the separate offence to the Criminal Code in 2005.

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