Even in Silicon Valley. In a nice subdivision, a 16-year-old and her friends called boys to flirt. It was just silly typical teen fun. Then one day after an argument with her family, she called a man she had met in a chat-room and asked him to come pick her up…
He did. And that very day, the teenage girl lost her freedom.
In this article, the girl is simply called B. Her name is not mentioned, because the man has not yet been apprehended. B says: “I really wanted to leave but I couldn’t.” I was watched like a hawk. I knew I had a small window to get away. I want people to think about it, it could happen to anyone’s kid. There’s not a look, an age or a face to this.” Human trafficking. Law enforcement has been targeting this crime for several years.
Victims are in restaurants, nail salons, nursing homes or food trucks. They can be seen peddling wares or cleaning buildings. Many are forced into prostitution, pornography or exotic dancing. Law enforcement officials estimate that at least half of trafficking victims in the United States are citizens, despite a perception that most are smuggled into the country. About 80 percent of them are female and about half are children.
It is possible that there are more men and boys exploited then statistics show, because so many cases are not reported. Santa Clara County District Attorney, Jeff Rosen says, “Human trafficking is too big of a business to go away on its own. This is not a game, it’s a rescue mission. We view every rescue as a success regardless if we are able to prosecute.”
It can happen anywhere and to anyone–even in Silicon Valley. People must learn the signs and report anything suspicious.
“If you see something, say something,” the 21-year-old survivor said. “There were fliers right down the street from me but nobody called the police. A lot of people think ‘she’s not a kid anymore, she’s a prostitute.’ But what makes one (child) any different than any other (child)?”
To read the entire article, click on the link below.
View Article on San Jose Mercury News
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