According to the FBI, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the largest hubs for sex trafficking in the United States. Each year, almost half a million American children are reported missing and are believed to be commercially sexually exploited. Even in wealthy communities, pimps canvass high schools for victims; oftentimes promising girls Chanel bags if they’ll just “do it once.” Any child with a cell phone is at risk. Pimps befriend kids on social media and gain their trust before selling them for sex.
Unlike a burglary where police respond to an emergency call, sex crimes are hidden and require a proactive investigation. In most cases, the victims are too scared to even testify against the criminal. Many are from foster care and may not even be reported missing. Most are classified as “runaways” for having made the mistake of voluntarily getting into a car with a “boyfriend” who then abducts her, beats her up and sells her for sex. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 3/4 of its missing kids cases were related to online sex advertisements