13News Now Investigation: Child sex trafficking in Hampton Roads

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 5:59 AM

Updated Monday, May 19 at 10:40 AM

NORFOLK -- Sex trafficking children over the Internet is a serious problem, according to the FBI.

An estimated 240,000 kids in the U.S. are considered at risk of sexual exploitation and the victims are overwhelmingly girls.

Tanya Street never imagined she would be trafficked for sex.  She remembers just graduating from high school and feeling vulnerable. 

"At this time in my life. I had lost all contact with family and friends," she recalled.

That's when she started dating an older man who eventually asked her to sell her body for sex. At first she was hesitant, but she ended up saying yes.

"I said 'I love you, and I want to prove to you how much I love you,'" she said.

Authorities say many young teens who end up in prostitution are first chatted with online, groomed to trust a stranger and then meet their new “friend” in shopping malls, where they are lured to run away.

In our special investigation on 13 News Now at 6 p.m., we'll show you examples of how easily children are being sold for sex online in Hampton Roads and how one victim said she was able to escape the industry.

 

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