BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- It's a horrifying experience for thousands of children across the United States, but there are few laws to truly protect them from the problem. Human sex trafficking is happening right here in Lousiana, and Governor Bobby Jindal wants to do something about it.
Theresa Flores was only 15-years-old when young men started selling her for sex. "He acted like he liked me," she says. An innocent ride in a car with a boy she liked, ended in two years of torture. "I was raped, drugged, and blackmailed with pictures," she explains.
Flores managed to escape, but others aren't so lucky. "Most aren't rescued," she says. And that's why Flores has become an advocate against human sex trafficking. It's defined as the forcing, tricking, threatening, or blackmailing someone to perform a sexual act for money. "I realized there were a lot more of me out there," says Flores. "I also realized there were insufficient laws against it."
She warns parents and teachers for warning signs of sex trafficking. Children as young as 9 years old could be involved in this problem. She warns against girls hanging out with a lot of older guys. "If they don't know where they are. If they are missing school, sick," explains Flores.
Here in Louisiana, more than 60 victims of human sex trafficking have stepped forward in 2009 and 2010. "This is a black market crime," says Governor Bobby Jindal. "We must break every link in the secretive chain to truly put an end to this offensive practice."
He says there is a law being proposed in the upcoming legislative session to expand the types of actions and criminals that can be prosecuted for this crime. For Flores, it's a step in the right direction.
"This is how we fight it," she says. "This is how we eradicate it, by getting everyone at the table, everyone on board to say yes this is a problem."
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