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

Trying to Regain Innocence

When Debbie was finally freed from the drawer, she was sobbing, and said she gave the officer "the biggest hug in the world."

"I was so relieved!" she said. "And then that's when my ... I was standing there, and my knees started ... they gave out."

While it seems unbelievable that these girls didn't try to escape earlier, experts say it's not so uncommon.

"These are human beings who are owned by someone else, who lack the ability to walk away, who lack the ability to make a decision in their own self-interest to do something else," said Allen. "If that's not slavery, I don't know what is."

Police arrested two people at the apartment, and Debbie was taken to a safe house for children while her mother was called.

"I remember I got the call while I was driving to work," Kersti said. "That was scary. I had to pull over. But, uh, it was just wild, it was. I drove as fast as I legally could. I walked in and I saw her and we just flew to each other."

Within hours, Debbie was safely home. "I was so happy," she said. "I was so happy to see my mom. I was so happy to be home. I'm able to be with my family. I don't know -- it's crazy."

The two officers who rescued Debbie were so touched by her strength and her story that they visited her this Christmas and gave her a cross -- a token of affection and protection.

"She is a very strong, amazing girl," said Scheffer. "We ran into a few other girls that are like that. I don't know how they have the strength. They are very brave."

The man Miya says lured her from the mall was charged with pimping and pandering in connection with the 17-year-old with whom he was travelling. He has pleaded not guilty.

As for the people accused of snatching Debbie, they are charged with kidnapping and sexual assault. All have pleaded not guilty, except for one who awaits extradition from Illinois.

Both girls are trying to go on with their lives. Miya still has three jobs -- she's even gone back to work at a mall. But she's determined now to do some rescuing of her own. She's saving money to open an animal shelter.

Debbie has been joyfully reunited with her family, but they have put their house up for sale. They've decided to leave Arizona and move to the Midwest, where Debbie hopes she can find some of the innocence she lost one grim night in September.

Note: This report has been revised to clarify that the man Miya says lured her into prostitution was charged with pimping and pandering only in connection with the minor with whom he was traveling.

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