NY1's five-part series on sex trafficking has evoked a lot of reaction around the city – but perhaps one mom from Queens has been impacted the most. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the final report of the series.
They were images a mother shouldn't see.
We were there when a Queens mom noticed her daughter was selling sex on Craigslist.com.
We've blurred the pictures and protected their identities.
"Oh, I can't even look at this," one mother said as she looked through photos of her daughter.
Her 16-year-old daughter went missing two weeks ago, a victim of sex trafficking. After seeing NY1's series on prostitution, the desperate mother called us for help.
"I figure my last resort is to reach out to you guys and get the word out. Not just for my daughter, but just for other people out there—other people's daughters out there," the mother said.
There are thousands of teens and young women posting on various websites and social media—a major concern for advocates and the NYPD. It's not hard to find underage girls, like this woman's 16-year-old daughter, who actually claimed she was 21.
Advocates say most of the girls are being tricked and beaten by pimps and traffickers. This mom says her daughter went missing before and was with a guy she met who ended up being a pimp.
"She said that he hit her because he wanted her to go out there and do it, and she said she wasn't going to do it. And that's when he beat her up," the mother said. "It was nothing but a house full of girls, different ages. Thirty, 16, 15—out there prostituting."
There is a bit of good news here. After NY1 got involved, the NYPD's vice squad was contacted and in an uncover operation the teen was rescued. Advocates say there has to be more awareness, though.
At a recent meeting The Brooklyn District Attorney's clergy liaison, Rev. Cheryl Anthony, said she got disturbing information from a junior high schooler.
"I'm talking about a 12-year-old, and she said some of the girls—they leave in the morning and go off with these guys and they come back before school is over and they get dismissed with their class. So I want to say it is happening right under our noses," said Anthony.
Hopefully now, more people are aware.
FOR HELP AND INFORMATION ON SEX TRAFFICKING AND PROSTITUTION
Sanctuary for Families: 212-349-6009
Safe Horizon 24-hour Hotline: 800-621-4673
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS): 212-926- 8089 / email@example.com