ADELANTO – An Adelanto mother is hoping that parents can be made aware of a very real risk to juveniles in the Victor Valley. A 14-year-old runaway claims that she was victimized by those who used her and are using other teens for sex trafficking.
The mother, who for her family’s safety has asked to remain anonymous. She said that her daughter ran away from home on Sunday, September 3, 2017, after experiencing some difficulties adjusting after the recent divorce of her and her husband. Her daughter, who 24/7 Headline News, in this exclusive report will refer to as ‘Jane Doe’, said that she sitting at Desert Trails Park located at 14350 Bellflower Street in the City of Adelanto. She said she as she was sitting there contemplating returning home a woman, who called herself “Tea Tea” approached her. Tea Tea said that she was going home to get something to eat and wanted to see if Jane wanted to go home with her to have something to eat. She told her after eating, she would bring her back to the park. Jane agreed and got into her white late-model Mercedes. Once in the vehicle, she noticed that there were two men in the backseat of the vehicle. The two men grabbed her backpack and cell phone.
The vehicle drove several miles to an apartment complex located in the 11800 block of A Avenue in Hesperia. She recalls being kept in a room with the handle turned so that the lock on the outside of the door. The room had an air mattress inside and a stack of dirty clothing in the corner. She recalls one other teen being in the home at the time, she was not allowed to talk to the other teen but later found that she was also a victim. One of the men said that she had to be alone for several hours and was not allowed to be involved in any “ho-sations” (meaning conversations between the victims) and was to remain naked while in the room. The woman, who called herself Tea Tea argued with one of the males because she felt that she should at least be allowed to wear a dress but he refused to allow any clothing.
One of the two men cut all of the victim’s hair off and took pictures of her in order to advertise her to those looking for sexual services. On the 4th day, according to the teen, she was taken to the streets of Los Angeles and on the way threatened about the performance and monetary expectations. Jane was made to wear a wig and clothing that the suspect(s) provided. The suspects took Jane to the Hesperia welfare office and demanded that she applied for assistance. Jane did, giving her real name in hopes this would cause them to involve authorities but Jane said she was only told that there was already a food stamp case under her mother’s name.
Throughout her time at the Hesperia apartment home, Jane said that she came in contact with at least two other female juveniles. All of the teens were expected to provide sexual services and to make a minimum profit with the risk of being abused or even stabbed if they did not.
Jane, who was originally from the Los Angeles area figured out how to get away and to her grandmother’s home in Los Angeles from her Figueroa Street location on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Jane was able to get away but now is left to face the emotional scars and the fear that these people would find her. Her mother said that she called authorities, who said they would be there the following day to take the report. “A deputy did arrive to talk to my daughter, but had to leave several times for emergency calls,” said Jane’s mother. “He was supposed to come back the following Saturday and did not. Now he said he will be coming to finish the report this coming Saturday.”
Those who work with sex trafficking victims said that unfortunately these types of incidents are not rare and are not considered a priority incident. They also indicated that they were recently made aware by another teen of this address as possibly being involved in this type of operation. She is sharing to hopefully stop this from happening to other juveniles.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Headquarters spokeswoman Jodi Miller said that she did not see any such incidents reported at the address. Jane’s mother showed a 24/7 Headline News reporter Facebook pages for two of the people allegedly involved in the operation. Since the information is not yet confirmed through investigation, these photos will not be released. The alleged suspects were two Black males and one Black female in their early-to-mid 20’s. She also was able to provide information about her contact with the Victor Valley Station, where the incident was initially, before Jane’s return, a runaway juvenile report. She also still has the wig and clothing that Jane returned home in, which was provided to Jane by the suspects. She is hoping that will be taken as evidence when the deputy returns to complete the report.
Now Jane’s mother does not know what to tell her fearful daughter to ease her fears since apparently there have been no arrests made. She hopes that the other juveniles will be safe or be able to get away.
Advocates for sex trafficking victims said that children, both male and female should be taught steps they can take to avoid being the victim of sex trafficking. Also, teaching your child what to do in the case they are in the situation, what they should do to get out of the situation.
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Some Ways to Prevent Your Child from Being Recruited Into Prostitution
(Provided by Facess Now Together Freedom)
- Recruiters frequent malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys, parks, typical teen hangout areas, and around school grounds. Make sure your children are supervised and not alone when in these areas.
- Recruiters are always looking for girls who are alone or isolated; if your child is with a group, she is much less likely to be targeted.
- Make sure your child is not alone when they are going to or from school or other extracurricular activities.
- Check your child’s emails, social media, and internet activities. Many recruiters will build a relationship with children through the internet over time in order to gain their trust.
- Screen any boyfriend by checking his age and status in the community. Check with his parents to verify his age, any gang affiliation, or any criminal history. Recruiters are notorious for lying about their age and who they are in order to gain a girl’s–and even her parent’s–trust.
- Know where your child is all times. It may be annoying to your child, but it also could mean saving their life.
- Adding a GPS tracker to your child’s phone is a great form of protection, as it allows you to find out exactly where your child is at any time.
- Have a code word or phrase. For example, saying “I’m fine” means “Not okay! I need help!”. This way, if they are in the hands of an abductor they can text you this code without raising the suspicion of the abductor or recruiter.
- Use the percentage sign or some unique symbol that will allow your child to text you one quick symbol to tell you they are in trouble.
- Have specific and periodic check in times with your children. Setting a recurring alarm on your child’s phone will help them remember to check in. If your child misses a check in time, you can set a response in motion assuming that they are in trouble.
- Ethical Modeling agencies do not typically solicit girls who are alone. Thoroughly screen any solicitation for your child to model or to go somewhere with someone who has not been vetted.
- Talk to your child about what to do if they get into trouble with someone who is threatening them. The basic rule is to never go to the second location once you realize you are in danger. No matter what the threat, advise them to go to a figure of authority immediately.
- It is a difficult discussion to have, especially with junior high age children, but 8 to 14 year-olds are the primary targets of recruiters. Children really need to be coached on how to respond to that type of threat if it happens to them.
- If your child is going to a party, make sure that you know it is held at a safe place with the supervision of people you trust. Recruiters for sex trafficking will often frequent parties that teenagers attend and wait until a child is alone, single them out, and actually take them during the party. Many times the recruiter will take them to a back room where any kind of disturbance would not be heard due to the noise of the party.
- Advise your child to never leave any drink, even water, unattended at any party or event. Recruiters will drop what they call a “roofie” into the drink which causes the victim to become submissive to anyone without bringing attention to the situation.
This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization