September 1, 2011
Child sex trafficking victims are not victims by choice. It is their naivete and vulnerability that puts them into the hands of traffickers. Had they realized the steps they were taking to put themselves into the hands of traffickers, they would not have chosen this path.
Three north Texas teen girls were transported to California by a 26 year old man. The teens were together for a sleepover when they met the man who said he wanted to take them to California to hang out at the beach. He then took them to California where the girls say they were taken shopping to buy heels and dresses for their new “job” as sex trade workers. They were also drugged. The man was arrested (date) and charged with transporting minors with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to a release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The girls were reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by a relative who gave the tip that they might be in California. With the help of the Irving, TX Police Department, Orange County Police Department and the FBI, the three girls were found in a motel in Orange, CA two weeks after they were reported missing. Their trafficker was found in the same hotel room and subsequently arrested. They were returned safely to Texas and are now in protective custody and are safe. They had not yet started working for the trafficker.
Had the girls not been reported missing by their relative and had the relative not given the tip as to their possible whereabouts, they might still be living out of the motel, under the watch of this 26 year old trafficker. The dresses and heels they bought to work in would have been put to use, and their chance of survival would have been grim. This is one of many cases to be celebrated because of the quick response from law enforcement, and the resources used to track and rescue these young girls.
It is important that we continue to tell our friends, families and neighbors about child sex trafficking in the United States. The more we educate ourselves and educate others, the easier it will become to stop this heinous crime. Learning who is most at risk, and learning about the manipulation tactics used by traffickers, can be extremely helpful in finding traffickers and rescuing victims.
If you suspect trafficking is happening, DO NOT intervene physically. Find a safe location and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888
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