The victims of human trafficking, a problem that has a presence in Southern California, are younger than you may think. Known as “The Game” to insiders of the $32-billion industry, human trafficking is a modern-day equivalent of slavery — but in this case, young girls are taken and sold for sex.
Two former teen prostitutes shared their stories with CBS2/KCAL9′s Melanie Woodrow, revealing some of the dismal details that embody the reality of sex trafficking.
One girl, calling herself Kim, ran away from an abusive home at the age of 15. Another girl on the street approached her and convinced her that she could make money through dancing. Instead, the girl left Kim in a stranger’s house. “It just so happened that the guy ended up to be a pimp,” Kim said. Through the beating the pimp gave her, Kim was initiated into the sex trade.
Another girl, going by the name of Amber, was victimized at the age of 13, when a 16-year-old acquaintance dropped her off at his uncle’s home, where she was sold for drugs. “Basically, [he] kind of sold me to him for marijuana,” Amber said. The teen, whose mother worked as a prostitute for her father, says she understood the situation immediately. “It’s all I’ve ever known,” Amber said.
Kim and Amber were able to escape with the help of undercover detectives, and they began a new life through Van Nuys’ Children of the Night, a privately funded nonprofit organization through which the director, Lois Lee, has been rescuing children from prostitution since 1979. “We’ve helped over 10,000 children for sure, and we stopped counting eight, 10 years ago,” Lee said.
Learn more at the CBS Los Angeles article: Teen Sex-Trafficking Victims Share Their Stories: ‘Basically, [He] Kind Of Sold Me’.