Experts Say That This Case Of 13-Year-Old Runaway Is Textbook Sex Trafficking

December 6, 2017
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According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, a 13-year-old girl from Katy, Texas has been found safe and well after investigators used her social media accounts to track her down to a house in Mexico City.

KHOU 11 News first reported the missing person’s case last Saturday afternoon. The girl’s parents reported her missing after she left school last Friday and took a bus bound for the Mexico border. However, KHOU is no longer naming the girl because she is a minor and although she is no longer in immediate danger, she may have been the victim of a crime.

The experts working on the case believe that the 13-year-old ran away to Mexico to meet a man she met online, concluding that it appears to be a classic case of sex trafficking.

Chief Relations Officer with Arrow Child & Family ministries, Debi Tengler believes the girl was targeted by professionals. “Immediately, it had signs of trafficking 101. Often times it can be a Romeo relationship or a daddy relationship, where they become the caretaker or protector, the one who values and appreciates that child, building a sense of security in them and often times brainwashing them against their healthy, biological family,” she says.

The girl’s mother said her daughter had admitted to communicating with a 29-year-old man living in Mexico. Her parents said they discovered their daughter exchanging graphic sexual images and messages last May on her phone, through covert messaging apps.

He father said “We found a note in her room. She calls the guy ‘daddy’ and herself ‘baby girl.” He claims the note said “‘Daddy owns my body and my soul,’ over and over and over again down this sheet of paper.”

Officials believe the girl travelled by bus to Laredo and then walked across the border into Mexico. Surveillance footage shows the girl speaking to a woman at the bust stop in Katy and it turned out the teenager managed to convince the woman to buy her a bus ticket.

The woman spoke to KHOU 11 and told them that she bought the girl lunch and a bus ticket to Laredo. “I asked her how old she was; she said 18. She told me she was here all week, visiting her boyfriend. She told me that her parents lived in Laredo and that she had been up here to visit her boyfriend and she was trying to get back to her family. “I’m just devastated, I’m so upset. I’m devastated for this little girl. I’m devastated for her family.”

Laredo Bus Station, Image from KSAT

Debi Tengler advises parents to be vigilant and pay close attention to their children’s social media accounts. “Children are very vulnerable. We all need to have eyes to see, become aware of their tactics, and take measures to protect and help them.” she said.

FBI and ICE agents worked on the case with the HCSO detectives and thankful the teenager has been located safe and well. However, there have been no charges filled in the case yet.

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