Teen Girls' Stories of Sex Trafficking in U.S.

After a sleepless night, Debbie was tossed back into the car and again driven around Phoenix. She said they talked to her about prostitution, and that one of the men forced her to have sex with him in the car and then later in a park.

The same man took her back to his apartment, and Debbie said, "I ended up in the dog kennel."

Greg Scheffer, an officer with the Phoenix police department, said Debbie was kept in a small dog crate for several days. Lying on her back in the tiny space, her whole body went numb.

"She was subject to various abuses while in there," Scheffer said. "This is all part of the breaking down period where [he] gains complete control of this girl."

Unbeknownst to Debbie, police say her captors had put an ad on Craig's List -- a national Web site better-known for helping people find apartments and roommates. Shortly after the ad ran, men began arriving at the apartment at all hours of the day and night demanding sex from her.

She said she had to comply. "I had no other choice," she said.

Debbie sais she was earning hundreds of dollars a night -- all of it, she said, going to the pimp.

Scheffer said Debbie was forced to have sex with at least 50 men -- and that's not counting the men who gang-raped her on a periodic basis.

Debbie had no idea who the men were. "I didn't know them," she said. "But most of them were married, with kids. And every single one of them, I asked them why they were coming to me if they had a wife at home. ... They didn't have an answer. So, like, I felt so nasty."

For more than 40 days, police say Debbie remained captive, often beaten and forced daily to have sex of the most degrading kind. During that time, she said she did not try to escape because her captors had done what police say so many pimps do -- threatened her and terrified her.

Debbie said that the pimps told her they would go after her family, and they even threatened to throw battery acid on her 19-month-old niece.

"After they told me that, I didn't care what happened to me as long as my family stayed alive," she said. "And that's pretty much what I had in my head. Staying there to keep my family alive."

Making a Break for It

Miya says she endured her own brutal ordeal and was forced to work as a prostitute.

When she failed to come home from her job at the mall, Miya's family began desperately searching for her -- they frantically called her cell phone and sent her text messages, begging her to come home. They got no response.

Eventually, they filed a missing person report with the police, contacted the media and plastered fliers and yellow ribbons all over town.

Meanwhile, Miya's boss at the mall called Dianne Martin to tell her he was afraid that her daughter may have been abducted by the suspicious couple.

Miya's parents soon learned from police that more than approximately 30 other girls had been approached by the same couple in that mall and in surrounding areas -- the same couple, apparently, who were seen with Miya and who claimed to be recruiting models. But in the end, Miya was the only girl who'd gone with them.

Within days, Miya had been moved several times, farther from home, and she said she was too scared to try to escape. "I mean, I was really far away from my house, and I didn't know where to go," she said.

Ernie Allen, the director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that's not uncommon for kids lured into the sex trade.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...