Child sex trafficking hit in national bust
Trafficking could touch any child, say Tucsonans fighting the crimePhoto: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It's the largest operation of its kind: a cross country raid targeting child prostitution rings.
76 cities. 150 pimps arrested. 105 children saved.
It's something we only think about happening in other parts of the world -- but over the weekend The FBI coordinated a massive raid to bust sex trafficking rings.
In Arizona, the FBI raids concentrated in the Phoenix area. They freed two children but were able to arrest no pimps.
People who have seen child sex trafficking up close say it is here in Tucson, and can reach any family or child.
Beth Jacobs says she was just sixteen when she became a pimp's captive and a body for sale.
"I was told I was going to a party. They don't come at you and say, hey baby, how would you like to be my prostitute? That's not how it happens because who would say, "me?!" People wouldn't do that."
Jacobs says she was based in Chicago, but transported around the country to meet the demand for sex for sale.
Jerry Peyton of the group Sold No More says his daughter was an honor student, when she ran away, distraught about a boyfriend's suicide.
"For her to run away because she blamed herself for it, not knowing that when you run away you need a place to stay and people offer that in exchange for sex. They call it survival sex."
Peyton's daughter escaped many years ago. Beth Jacobs escaped after being trapped in sex trafficking from age 16 to 22.
She says, "Talk to you kids about it. Let them know this is real and this can happen to your family. These young people don't come from Prostitutionville in Southern Arizona. There's no such place. They come from our families, from our churches from our communities."
When FBI and police rescued children and busted pimps, they were rooting them out in a world where pimps use social media to flatter girls into their trap, and customers use the web to buy girls like any product.
Jerry Peyton says there's more reason than ever to watch where kids go on the web.
"You absolutely have to have to monitor that and put controls on it because people are going after them through those gateways.">
And understand the internet contact who says he's a teen may be an adult pimp fishing for a new victim.
Peyton says sex trafficking victims can become so attached to their pimps, they may call them boyfriends, and need convincing they've been victims all along.
The FBI has been mounting special efforts to fight child sex trafficking for the last ten years. So far they're rescued about 27 hundred.