Sex trafficking victims in South Florida are getting targeted more aggressively, and at younger ages

What parents should know

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Monday night, the Contact 5 Investigators went undercover with detectives as they busted a Stuart home for suspected sex trafficking, but it's a crime that's not secluded behind the walls of the home.

The Contact 5 Investigators spoke with a Palm Beach County mother, whose daughter was sold for sex at 16 years of age.

"She's a beautiful girl, came from a good home, there's no reason this should've happened to her," said the mother.

"They like minors because if they can manipulate a minor then it becomes a way of life," she said.

Law enforcement agencies meet every month to try to stop the people behind it but the Florida Department of Children and Families says, the predators are finding new ways to stalk children.

"These are professionals that come in and they take your child's childhood away from them, it's awful," said Patricia Vazquez, the law enforcement liaison for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Vazquez said predators are targeting kids as young as 13.

"They can get caught up in this anywhere they go... the mall, church, courthouse, walking in the street," said Vazquez.

Court records show the feds have prosecuted more than 35 trafficking cases in South Florida in just the past fives years, but those are just the cases we know about.

Becky Dymond of Hepzibah House counsels sex trafficking victims.

"Many of the women I worked with were trafficked a number of years ago but  never reported it and blamed themselves.

"It's brutal, it's abusive, it's terrorizing," said Dymond.


 

 

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