The girls targeted for sex trafficking have often been sexually abused and have been involved with the Department of Children and Families. “This is something that could happen to anyone’s daughter.”Lisa Goldblatt Grace, director of My Life, My Choice, a survivor-led Boston organization fighting sex trafficking, has seen victims as young as 11.“They usually come in without an addiction and over time they learn it’s one of the ways that they can survive what they’ve been through,” Goldblatt Grace said.
Others come from affluent families and communities. “By 18 to 24, we do see a fair amount of addiction that goes quickly from using any number of substances to using heroin.”Gang-based sex trafficking, she said, is also on the rise.
Lubbock police arrested Tarvinn Williams on April 27 after Facebook records showed he tricked a 17-year-old girl into having sex with him by posing as a woman on Facebook and recruited her into a prostitution enterprise. According to an arrest warrant, transcripts of a May 18, 2016, Facebook chat obtained by investigators showed a woman identified as Samantha Pena recruiting a 17-year-old girl into joining an escort business she has been running for two years in Lubbock. Pena told the girl it was legal in Texas and asked the girl for “some body pics of (you) it’s for my eyes only,” the warrant states.
The court documents, signed by a the dectective, claim Cruse knew the age of the person he was meeting.
Cruse was arrested this past Saturday in Danville, Kentucky.
Court documents accuse Cruse of starting an online chat and arranging to meet a 16 year-old gay teen for a sexual act.
And if they aren’t already using drugs, many start using them later, as a means to cope with their nightmare ordeals.
Over the past decade, the sex trafficking industry on the internet has boomed, taking the illegal racket from the streets to behind closed doors.“The reason it’s able to happen so pervasively is because the internet and online activity makes this possible,” Healey said.