"The sex industry is the place where a majority of these kids do turn," Collier said. "When you have somebody who has just run away from home, who has almost nothing, they are so much more susceptible to this kind of abuse."
The problem is exacerbated by adults eager to prey on vulnerable children, he said, citing 1,200 children and teens who sleep each night on the streets of Dallas.
"It's very much an offer of false protection," he said.
Williams, of the Dallas police, adds that the majority of underage people linked to prostitution are part of the the city's runaway population.
It's not clear whether any of the girls allegedly involved in the Club Metropolis raid were runaways, but it's one more factor that has prompted authorities to consider the children and teens involved as victims instead of criminals.
"All of these kids live in another world where they are both offender and victim," Williams said. "But the central thing we have to keep in mind is that these people are kids."