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Dangerous offer lures teenagers into sex trafficking

It's a way an abuser can find young people who are vulnerable.

ST. LOUIS – Flyers are being posted in the area, offering jobs to high school students. But one woman said it's a scam to lure them into sex trafficking.

Advocates for sex trafficking awareness like Amy Ford said the posters are dangerous, and some people have made a mission to rip them down.

"Extra income, teens needed, no experience necessary," Ford said.

These are some of the words posted on flyers advertising jobs for teens. It’s a way an abuser can find young people who are vulnerable. It’s something Ford said she was exposed to for decades after being molested as a child.

“He started trafficking me through escort services at 14-years-old. I never thought I would be clean, I never thought I would not prostitute. I thought that it was what I was destined to do, I thought it was going to be the rest of my life,” Ford said.

But instead she changed her life. Ford escaped sex trafficking and has been free of drugs for more than two years. Since then, she’s had a mission to make sure others don't experience what she did.

“I don't want another person to have to go through what I went through at such a young age, it is life scaring,” Ford said.

Whenever she sees a poster that resembles sex trafficking, she rips them down. And she knows a group full advocates who do the same.

“I see them at a lot at different bus stops and metro link stations. It’s pretty scary to know that this is the reality of how traffickers lure their victims,” Ford said.

While helping prevent people from becoming the next victim, she also wants to help those who are already a part of the life.

“I feel like if I can overcome it after 26 years of prostitution, being sexually exploited, and 23 years of active addiction. If I can do it anybody can,” Ford said.

In addition to making the community aware of the posters, a group of advocates are also hosting a panel discussion to talk about sex trafficking, and prostitution awareness in March.

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