Authorities in Colorado and Wyoming have rescued 20 teenage victims and arrested seven pimps as part of an annual national crackdown on child sex trafficking. It’s how those victims get help that depends on their situation.
One of those victims, a 14-year-old girl, was being trafficked for sex on Colfax in Denver. She was reunited with her family, but that is not always an option for victims.
“The goal is always to get these kids, if they’re kids, through social services, back with their family,” Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey told CBS4. “But remember, a lot of these kids have run from families. The reason they’re out there, the reason they’re being abused like this is because they’ve left families where they’re being abused or they’re being sexually abused. So there’s no going back there.”
Along with local law enforcement and the FBI, Morrissey’s office helps find the necessary help each victim needs. He said the immediate follow-up is if they need medical attention because many are coming out of violent situations.
“These girls, these women get beat up if they don’t do what they’re told to do,” Morrissey said. “When you suffer that kind of trauma and you live through these kinds of threats, there’s all kinds of emotional therapy and those types of things that need to be put in place.”
If a child or teenage victim cannot be reunited with their family, victim’s advocates look to organizations who specialize in treating and housing those in need.
“Third Way Center comes to mind,” Morrissey told CBS4. “It’s a place where abandoned and traumatized kids can go live on their own, get therapy, go through the different stages that they’ve set up for treatment there.”
Morrissey also said treatment depends on the victim’s situation and sometimes that means witness protection.