Florida – It’s a parent’s worst nightmare when their child disappears and they’re left without any clue as to what happened.
While a Florida girl was recently reunited with her parents after running away from home earlier in the year, the 13-year-old child that came home to them would never be the same.
Investigator say the teen had been subjected to months of sex slavery in a human trafficking ring, sold out to whoever would pay.
According to court documents stemming from Florida, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly forced into having sexual acts with hundreds of men in only a few weeks by traffickers who had nicknamed the young girl “breadmaker”.
The dubbing of the term was in relation to the amount of money generated from the alleged pimps selling the young woman, a label telling of how this child was treated like a commodity to be sold rather than the person she is.
The young girl had told authorities that she ran away from home in May of this year, according to court documents cited by the Sun-Sentinel.
The documents alleged that the young girl had met a 19-year-old named Racquel Bijou, who allegedly got her involved in the prostitution business. It’s an all too familiar anecdote within the United States, with over 800,000 children reported missing every year.
According to a report from the Washington Post, nearly half of those missing children, whether runaways or abducted, end up on the streets. Out of those that turn to the streets, within three days 70 percent of them become sex trafficking victims.
While the young girl was in the company of Bijou, policed stated that Bijou had arranged for the teen to meet with men to engage in sexual encounters. Some of the men who had paid to sleep with the young girl were as old as 50.
Clearly Bijou had allegedly thought the harboring of the young girl was a financially lucrative business, and supposedly had later brought in two associates in the sale of the 13-year-old.
This brings us to 22-year-old Jeremiah Horenstein and 25-year-old Ashton Lewinson, according to police.
Prosecutors stated that with the newly recruited associates, they brought the sales of the minor to the Internet. Allegedly Horenstein and Lewinson posted pictures of the teen on unlawful websites that advertised commercial sex acts.
On multiple occasions, the trio would allegedly drive the girl to various hotel rooms where she would sleep with hundreds of men in less than a month, according to police. Court documents had suggested that the girl eventually had a falling out with Horenstein and allegedly ended up being prostituted by another woman, 27-year-old Souprina Blanc.
The girl’s family had alerted authorities within days of her disappearance, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Police had used the girl’s phone records to track her down, eventually leading them to a Miami residence where they rescued her.
In the home, they found Blanc and two unidentified people. Despite Blanc, one of the many alleged pimps in this case, being present at the Miami home that day she was not immediately arrested. She was arrested just last week and made an appearance in magistrate court in Miami on Tuesday.
Both Bijou and Horenstein were arrested in back in August for their alleged participation in the trafficking, and Lewinson was arrested earlier this month, according to the Sun-Sentinel. All four are charged with sex trafficking of a minor. If convicted, then the lot of them could be looking at spending the rest of their lives in prison.
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DeliverFund is a non-profit organization made up of former government, law enforcement and military workers who joined together to combat the epidemic of human trafficking in America. We’re talking former special forces operatives, CIA, NSA and more.
Kara Smith is a Senior Targeting Analyst with DeliverFund. She weighed in on the severity of the situation, noting that it’s much more prevalent than people know or are willing to accept.
“This story is all to common, and is just another example of human trafficking happening here in the United States in every state, and every city right under our own noses,” Smith said in an exclusive interview with LET. “Juvenile runaways are at a significantly higher risk of being trafficked. One out of every seven runaways is likely a child sex trafficking victim and one in three runaway teens will be approached by a trafficker or bottom girl within 48 hours of being on run/the street. Traffickers prey upon the most vulnerable and there is nothing more vulnerable than a runaway teen.”
DeliverFund helps target victims of trafficking and works with local law enforcement agencies to build cases against suspects and take them down. They’ve made an incredible impact on the industry and have reunited countless victims with their families.
“In this particular case seeing that law enforcement was able to arrest multiple traffickers is extremely encouraging. By arresting the human traffickers not only was the victim rescued, but it now inhibits the traffickers from repeating their crime against a countless number of victims from here on out.”
To learn more about the work that DeliverFund is doing or to see how you can help combat the world of human sex trafficking, visit their website here.
While it’s amazing that the young woman was rescued from the likes of those intent on exploiting her, we’ll still be praying for healing for this young victim.
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