Sex Trafficking Ring Busted by Brave Teen Texter

We say it all the time: all it takes is one person to make a difference in the life of someone in crisis.

This week we received a text that led to the break up of a sex trafficking ring. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the 14-year-old girl was being held against her will and trafficked. The Crisis Counselor on the other end was able to work with the texter to gain important information, the Supervisor alerted the police, who in turn rescued the kidnapped teen and arrested five people in a sex trafficking operation in San Jose earlier this week. According to police, two other women who were being trafficked were also rescued.

We don’t ever share any details of a conversation and we never even identify the Crisis Counselor of a specific situation. (We will often talk in broad strokes, but specifics and names? Never!) However, this conversation has a twist: the Crisis Counselor was our CEO and Co-Founder, Nancy Lublin. In her words:

“I love taking conversations on the platform. I’ve had over 2750 conversations.

Yes, this one was stressful. As soon as it was apparent that this was a child being trafficked, I grabbed my best friends to handle it with me: Ben & Jerry and a spoon. I was on my couch at home, eating ice cream and feeling in awe of this brave girl.

I was not alone. Besides that pint of ice cream, I’m grateful to our team for building and maintaining such a kickass platform so we can help people, to my Supervisor who kept me calm and called it in, and to the community of Crisis Counselors who were on the platform with me at the time cheering me on.”

Read more about this story in People Magazine.

What is Sex Trafficking

According to human trafficking organization Polaris, sex trafficking involves the use of threats, manipulation, and coercion to make adults and children engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Over 4.8 million people trapped in sex trafficking around the world. The sex trafficking is a massive industry, bringing in an estimated $99 billion a year.

Sex Trafficking Statistics

Crisis Text Line’s text-only format makes us an ideal resource for those that may be being trafficked. According to our Crisis Trends data, when texters mentioned the words “trafficking” or “prostitution” in their conversations, they were:

  • 2.5x more likely to be between 25 – 34
  • 2x more likely to text us between 6 and 8 am
  • 10x more likely to mention sexual abuse
  • 5x more likely to mention sexual assault
  • 6x more likely to mention physical abuse

Some of the top words from our texters associated with “trafficking” and “prostitution” included:

  • Coerced
  • Kidnappers
  • Craigslist
  • Incest
  • Abduction
  • Cybercrime
  • Nonconsensual
  • Cyberstalked

How You Can Stop Sex Trafficking

Some of the signs that someone may be being trafficked include:

  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where they are staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city they are in
  • Sharing scripted, confusing, or inconsistent stories
  • Protects the person who may be hurting them or minimizes abuse
  • Not being in control of their own ID documents (such as a passport, or driver’s license)

You never who is being affected by human trafficking. Share resources wherever you can – whether it’s on social media, or at your school, or at a popular community event. Making sure people know that there are services like Crisis Text Line available during their time of need.

Let’s take on these issues together.

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