Children Kidnapped for Sex Trafficking

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – Four young children could have ended up as sex trafficking victims. Instead they’re now back with their families in Mexico.

They were kidnapped. Suspected smugglers tried to bring them to the Valley. The children were all under six.

San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez says young human traffickers want children under 10.

“These children have been raped repeatedly more than 30 times a day.  The more use they get out of a child, the more profit,” he tells us. “They are using these children.  The younger the better for the human trafficker.”

Gonzalez trains officers around the country to recognize signs of sex trafficking. Two women from San Juan and Edinburg tried to bring four children across the bridge illegally.

A customs officer suspected the women were going to sell the kids. The children ranged in age from less than a year to six years old. The women told officers the kids belonged to them.  hey even had fake U.S. birth certificates.

An alert customs officer didn’t believe their story.

“Officers are being trained to recognize force, fraud and coercion,” the San Juan police chief says.

Gonzalez says if the suspected smugglers got away with their crime, the children would be living through unimaginable horror.

“They’re utilizing them in bars and nightclubs or even for individuals who are requesting them to abuse them,” he tells us.

Or traffickers might sell the children to pornographers.

“Traffickers seek young children, because they can abuse them for a longer period of time,” Gonzalez explains.  “This kind of crime is a money maker.”

He adds, “Human trafficking is gone more profitable than drug smuggling, more profitable than human smuggling, arms trafficking.”

Human trafficking is hard to detect and harder to prosecute.

Gonzalez says children trafficked into this country are often taken to brothels. He says there are probably brothels around the Valley investigators haven’t found yet.

He tells us officers will usually find human trafficking when they respond to a noise violation or to find a runaway.



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