tv Sex Slaves MSNBC August 12, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
on the streets of detroit and throughout michigan, hard times are leading to hard choices for a growing number of young women caught up in the underground sex trade. >> domestic trafficking in the state of michigan is a huge problem. >> police! coming in. >> we've seen cases involving 12- and 13-year-olds in small towns. we've seen cases involving young girls in the big cities here. they are modern-day slaves, on the streets all around us. >> out of work and out of options, more and more are turning to the oldest profession in a desperate bid to make ends meet. >> and why are you guys out doing this?
>> i'm homeless with four kids. >> but lurking in the shadows are the pimps and the traffickers, predators who will stop at nothing to extract their pound of flesh. >> they're going to beat you, kill you, or overdose you. one of the three, you're going to leave here in a very tragic way. >> get your hands up! >> hands up! >> tonight, msnbc goes undercover with the fbi in michigan as they battle to rescue the young and the lost caught in the grip of sex slavery in the motor city. >> please! please! i beg you. detroit, michigan, once the very hub of american industrial might, the city's economic collapse is staggering. today, with unemployment
hovering near 20%, motown is a tough place to find a job. that is, unless you happen to be dealing in one of the few lines of merchandise that still pays around here -- the buying and selling of sex for cash. >> we actually have a number of partners that are in the task force. >> special agent michael glennon heads up the fbi's human trafficking task force in michigan. >> why the need for a task force when it comes to this issue of human trafficking, sex trafficking? >> in detroit a lot of people don't realize that we're kind of a hub of both recruitment as well as a destination city and recruitment city. that as well as the end of the i-74 corridor, there's a lot of truck traffic and a lot of components that make it a very popular area for trafficking unfortunately. >> today the task force has invited us to ride along for a firsthand look at their efforts
to combat the illicit sex trade in the motor city. >> our objective overall obviously is recover as many juveniles as possible. second unto that is build cases. >> investigators begin the operation by browsing the online ads for adult services in metro detroit. they are hunting specifically for postings like this one for lil barbie, a very young-looking woman who appears likely to be underage. >> who's doing lil barbie? you? >> initial calls to set up a date with lil barbie go unanswered, but detectives will keep her very much in mind. meanwhile, undercover officers begin to set up dates with other women who also appear to be quite young. >> okay. you'll come to my hotel, right? >> investigators have booked adjoining rooms in an upscale hotel. in a matter of minutes, they will transform the scene into a high-tech snare for call girls.
>> the surveillance room where we'll be set up is 204, the undercover room will be 206. we're going to have it wired up for video and audio. >> test record. >> check, check, check, one, two. >> as one team wires the room for video and audio surveillance, undercover officers continue to work the phones. >> hi, tiffany. >> hey, missy. >> how you doing, ashley? >> alexis? >> in the course of an hour, officers make nearly 100 calls. >> you are blonde, right? >> hoping to identify and lure potential juveniles to the sting. >> i'm not going to stand you up. >> 90 minutes into the operation, the team's efforts begin to bear fruit. >> she on her way? >> cab's been called. she'll call me on the way in the cab. and she's not going to be happy when she pays me 25 bucks and i bust her. >> a young woman named sunny is the first to take the bait.
>> she came inside. she produced two condoms. she actually seemed a little naive, real eager to get undressed. usually it's the other way around, ask the officer to get undressed, ask to touch the officer. they don't think the police will do that. i asked about oral sex, which she agreed to. and i then gave the bust signal. $200 better be a good deal. arresting and assisting officers entered the room. >> police. >> oh, my god, cameras? i can't get my purse? >> investigators soon learn that sunny is only 22 and a long way from home. >> can you run a file for me? it's going to be out of indiana. >> right now she's going to be interviewed based off the information that she gives.
we will either keep investigating if she gives leads about underage girls. if not, she'll be held in a cell. we'll allow her to post bond at the end of the night. that way she's not able to warn any of the other girls. >> do you have a job right now? >> no. >> is that why you're doing this? why are we doing it? >> i don't have a job. i don't have nobody. so we do what we got to do to get money. >> she said she's only been doing it for approximately six months along with her sister. they're having financial difficulties at this time. that's the reason they decided to become involved in prostitution. >> while sunny is taken downtown for further investigation, undercover officers continue to prime.
>> blonde? >> the team continues their search for lil barbie with a call to one of her old contact numbers. >> oh, that's not good. she said barbie is locked up. >> investigators disregard that caller's information for a moment and try yet another number for barbie. >> is barbie around? >> this time they make contact. >> hey, it's chris. you doing out-calls? >> barbie tells the investigators she's not comfortable doing out-calls. if he wants her, he will have to travel to her location. >> all right. >> unfortunately, the team is not set up for travel today and the rendezvous with lil barbie will have to wait until tomorrow. >> yeah, she sounds young. >> however, there are other potential juveniles willing to come out. >> this one here, tiffany. >> tonight, the task force must focus on them. coming up -- the task force brings down the curtain on what investigators
oh, my god, cameras? >> it's a friday night in detroit and investigators with the fbi's human trafficking task force are out in full strength. the scene is an upscale hotel in the suburbs where investigators have laid a trap for unwitting prostitutes and pimps. >> oh, all right. do you guys work together? >> during this call, a woman by the name of tiffany offers to bring a friend along for what investigators refer to as a two-girl show. >> do you want us both to come? >> how much is it for the two of you? >> double. >> okay. >> tiffany is bringing a friend. >> just off the phone another target.
supposed to be 20 minutes out. supposed to be a two-girl show. >> outside the hotel investigators keep an eye on the front door, and it's not long before tiffany and her friend come calling. >> two females just went in. what we had was the two-girl show, the outside surveillance was able to see what vehicle they got out of, which was a white van. >> all right. that white van is parked in the back right behind us. >> that's the pimp. >> while the outside team watches the white transport van, the action inside room 206 is heating up. >> do you guys want me to put the money down or something? >> yeah. >> is that how it works? >> investigators in the room next door watch and wait for the go signal while the undercover gets the women to verbally agree to the deal. >> take turns for a minute? that's a good deal for $200. >> it's a good deal, and the arresting officers move in. >> police. >> police department.
>> oh, my god. >> she's got my cash somewhere, 320. >> with the women now in custody, investigators quickly target the white van that delivered them. >> hands up! >> get your hands up! walk toward the car. hands on the car now. >> turned out to be four individuals, one being the boyfriend of one of the girls who was in the room on the original date. >> inside the van, detectives find dirty clothes, a mattress and a television, all signs that the vehicle is doubling as a living space. and just one more indication of hard times in detroit. >> and why are you guys out doing this for the first time? >> i'm homeless with four kids. >> i'm trying to get my kids back so i need money because the environment is bad. >> ever done this before?
>> no. >> tiffany and natasha say this is their first arrest for prostitution, but both admit to prior experience dancing in local strip clubs. >> this is your first time getting busted? >> no. this is my first time doing this, period. >> this kind of work? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> this is my first call to jail or whatever i'm doing. >> everybody knows what happens at the strip clubs. >> no. >> no! >> never? >> i've never done any of this [ bleep ]. >> that's what they tell me. i tell guys i have babies. i have to kiss my kids good night. >> right. >> god's way of telling me, remember you've still got to kiss them babies. oh, man, my husband is going to shoot me. >> tiffany and natasha's arrest is barely five minutes old when detectives get word that the next date is en route and only moments away. >> very friendly. she sounds young. i'd say she's definitely 20 or below.
>> we're going to shut this door, okay? >> the team has no choice but to stash the women in the bathroom of the surveillance room while the undercover goes to work in the room next door. >> you all right? >> yeah. >> just shhh. >> as soon as this young woman agrees to $180 for a half hour of sex, investigators move in and make yet another arrest. the young woman who goes by the name natalia is only 19. erratic and unusually talkative, she appears at first to be under the influence of drugs. >> i don't understand. >> you just get done smoking something? >> huh? >> you just get done smoking something? >> you smoke something? >> you feel okay? >> my stomach just hurts. i'm pregnant. >> really? >> yeah.
>> from chris we got a lead on the other vehicle. >> meanwhile, outside the hotel, investigators run down the vehicle that delivered natalia. inside they find two females. both are arrested and taken downtown for questioning. >> we're going to go to the other side here. >> the team now has ten individuals in custody. >> going back for the search? >> yes. >> all are transported downtown where investigators hope to gather new information about the ever changing underground sex networks in detroit. >> right now we're just getting them situated in their cells. we're going to start interviewing them one by one. >> a closer look at tiffany and natasha's case reveals what appears to be a start-up pimping operation ran by a convicted drug dealer out on parole. >> sorry to wake you up. i need some quick information. you can stay down if you want. investigators will continue to probe this fledgling outfit for any possible links to juveniles or bigger players in the local sex trade.
>> tell me how you got involved in that. >> as for natalia, the pregnant 19-year-old yields perhaps the most promising tip of the night. >> kristen is, like, i need money. i want to do that, too. >> a lead on a possible juvenile going by the name of kristen. >> she said she wanted to do it because it looked like easy money. >> according to natalia the juvenile is being exploited by a local escort service. >> how old do you think she was? >> at the time 16 or 17. >> why do you think that? >> because she was in school and i knew she was under 18. >> she gives the description, possible location and the name of the person who might be exploiting her, all valuable pieces of the puzzle for these detectives who will go on rescuing the young and lost caught in the grip of sex slavery in the motor city.
>> yes, we did get intel on throughout the operation from a couple of the different arrests about juveniles that are currently out there working. we also identified roughly two to three pimps that are working girls in the detroit metro area that we will continue to build a case on and go after next time we go out. coming up -- one woman's tale of struggle and survival on the streets of detroit. >> they're going to beat you, kill you, or overdose you. one of the three you're going to leave here in a very tragic way.
today in michigan, the local economy is on life support. but the business of sex for sale is alive and well. >> we're going to the other side here. >> in 2010, the fbi human trafficking task force estimated that roughly 20%, one in five, arrested for prostitution were juveniles. >> i think that domestic trafficking in the state of michigan is a huge problem. >> attorney bridgette carr runs the university of michigan's
human trafficking clinic, which is compiling a database for all human trafficking cases in the country. >> we've seen cases involving 12- and 13-year-olds in small towns. we've seen cases involving young girls in the big cities here. >> so in your mind these girls, boys, they are the equivalent of modern-day sex slaves. >> they are modern-day slaves, on the streets all around us. >> i can remember the first day it actually happened, like it was yesterday. >> for tina, like a majority of the young women and girls sold for sex, the road to a lifetime of exploitation was paved with violence. >> they're going to beat you, kill you, or overdose you. one of the three, you're going to leave here in a very tragic way. >> tina's childhood nightmare started when her mother sold her to two neighborhood men. it began in kindergarten and it began with rape.
>> i came home from school, and my mother said that i had to stay in my room because i had did something wrong, which i hadn't did nothing wrong. i goes to my room. it's two grown men in my bed, completely naked. she say, take off your clothes and get in the bed with them, and that's where you're going to stay for the rest of the day. >> it was a brutal initiation into what would become a life of exploitation. >> how old were you when your mother sold you into sexual slavery? >> i was at least 5. >> why did your mom do that to you? >> drugs, alcohol, and she say, don't worry about it. this is what all women have to do. if you going to live in this world, this is what you have to do. >> tina says her mother had also been sexually abused and prostituted as a young girl. >> i guess the guys didn't want her anymore so she turned to me because i was the oldest. >> at 5 years old, did you even
know what was going on? >> no. >> did you know about sex? >> no. and i didn't even know the difference then between boy and girl because i only have sisters. when i first told my grandmother that my mother's friends was touching me, oh, you just saying that because you don't want your mother with nobody but your dad. if the men is touching me, he's touching me. so after i told her and she didn't believe me, i just wouldn't say nothing to nobody. >> with no family to turn to, young tina was forced to grow up fast and hard on the streets of detroit. turned out by the age of 13, she would be brutalized by one pimp after another. and every time she tried to get out of the life, there was always hell to pay. >> you'll get burned. you done get your nails pulled out with pliers. i have been stabbed here in my
chest. i have a screwdriver stabbed in my face from my first kid's father because i said that i wasn't going out to work. i've been stabbed in my shoulder. i was burnt on my back with an iron because i said i wasn't going to be no prostitute. >> so when you tried to fight back, they fought you and they beat you. >> and it comes out worse on my end than on theirs. >> so it was better to just go along. >> just do what you got to do and come back. >> there is a promise of love there, and the pimp is very skilled in manipulating love and violence. >> deena is the executive director of alternatives for girls, one of the few nonprofits in the nation that help young women break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution. >> when someone is telling you they love you despite hurting you, you may return to love just because it's what you know.
>> it's not really love. it's abuse and control. >> right. but for them it is real love because it is what they've been told is love. love hurts. >> i guess after being in that life for so long that it was all right to be his punching bag or his sex object or whatever or just a person that he sold to everybody else. >> because you valued yourself so little. >> because i didn't know no better, and at the time i didn't care. i just wanted to live. >> and how did you finally get out of that life altogether? >> alternatives for girls. >> in 2008, a friend urged tina to seek help from alternatives for girls. >> the minute i came in from work, i was ready to get beat up. >> there she found compassion, community and for the first time in her life unconditional acceptance. >> i like it.
>> and what did they teach you? >> they taught me that regardless what happened in the past i'm a beautiful person, i don't deserve what happened to me, to love myself and keep my head up high. >> so a lot of these young victims don't even know that they're victims. >> no, they don't. or, even if they do, they think that's all they deserve or that's all their life is going to be. >> so used to doing what you was doing that it's hard to break the pattern. >> deena says the road out of prostitution can be a long and difficult one. >> i'm stuck. >> with many struggles and setbacks along the way. >> no, no, no. it's not that i don't want to. i don't believe i can. >> it is a vicious cycle. >> it is. because life just keeps pulling you back to what you know, and you have to fight everything that you have been taught.
yes, there will be relapses. but as long as there's that will to survive and to change, then she will succeed. >> nobody hurting me. i'm a good girl now. now i'm going to get my ged and i would like to get into counseling so i can help other women that's in my predicament. i've been close to death three times. i'm not ready to go nowhere. i have something to tell somebody, some lady is going to listen to me somewhere and get help. >> police department. go ahead and step out for a minute. coming up -- investigators try to save a high school girl from the clutches of a would-be pimp. >> no man opens up his house to a teenager without expectation. no man does. [ hip hop beat throughout ] [ fans cheering ]
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on our last ride-along with the fbi task force in michigan, detectives nabbed four young women and a pimp by luring them to this undercover sting in an upscale hotel. >> police. >> police department. >> oh, my god. >> great work yesterday. moving on today, we'll do the in-calls. >> now the task force will be taking their show on the road. >> this will be what we call an in-call operation.
we'll be all over southeast michigan. the difference is today we're actually going to be going from hotel to hotel. >> undercover officer is at the mercy of the prostitutes to determine where and when the meet takes place and causes these operations to move quickly. >> because we're going into the unknown we'll have emergency planning in case something happens. we'll make sure everyone is vested up so we're taking those precautions to make sure that we have safety out there for our officers. >> don't recognize her. she's new. >> once again, detectives comb the online ads, looking for possible juveniles. >> she's put up more pictures. >> the undercover makes contact with a very young looking woman going by the name mercedes. >> says she was 18 years old and that she was willing to do new lap dancing but no sex or [ bleep ]. i responded back, would she be willing to do a hand job. she said she would be. right now we're texting back and forth. i asked if she's willing to do a car date.
she's responding back. >> mercedes agrees to $60 for a car date. and the team is off and running. detectives keep a watchful eye on the undercover vehicle. >> got you 5 by 5. >> mercedes directs the undercover to a shopping mall in the suburbs and tells him to wait there in a motel parking lot. >> she's going to be in a navy blue honda civic. >> within a matter of minutes, she rolls up and climbs into the undercover vehicle. >> and driver door is open. black female, black top. and she is inside the uc vehicle. >> arresting officers listen carefully to the radio and wait for the bust signal. >> got the call. good deal. >> it's a good deal.
and the detectives move in for the arrest. >> police department, go ahead and step out. you're under arrest. bring your arms back for me. i'll explain everything to you in one second, okay? >> a quick look in mercedes' purse tells the detectives the girl is still in high school. >> she's got a high school i.d. in here. >> what's your date of birth? >> detectives learn that mercedes is only two months past her 18th birthday. but they want to know more about how and when she started in the game and who she may be working for. >> so we've got her heading back to the post for the interviews. one of the big questions will be when did she start into the world of prostitution. did she wait until she was 18, or did she start when she was actually a juvenile. >> back at the post, the interview team grapples with a naive, headstrong teenager who insists she's done nothing wrong. >> he answered my ad, which by the way i'm a stripper and that's not illegal because i was offering a service of a lap dance.
i wasn't posting anything illegal. >> she seems very intelligent. she had an answer for everything. but i don't at all believe that the only thing she's doing is lap dances. >> you've only been doing this since february, right? >> yeah. >> how long you been dancing? >> i've been dancing since i turned 18. >> mercedes says she started working at a local strip club the day she turned legal. she said she left home and met a man where she worked in a strip club. the man is nearly twice her age. >> you've known him for a month? >> yeah. >> the relationship with the older man is a big red flag for task force officers steve and faith. >> whoever this guy is you're living with, 30 years old, that's a little odd to me. that's a little odd. and that raises some hairs on the back of my neck because anytime a 30-year-old man you meet at a strip club invites you to live with him, that man has some ulterior motives. he may not be putting it to you right now, but eventually something is going to happen with that.
no man opens up his house to a teenager without expectation. no man does. and that's, you know -- that's just the truth. >> no. >> what detectives find most stunning is how oblivious mercedes is to the dangers of picking up strange men in her car. >> i tell them that information. how is that crazy if they're going to call the cops? >> it doesn't matter if you're dead. >> they're not going to do that. there's too much at stake. >> how do you know that? >> because you have families and stuff. why would you kill someone and they know it's you. >> do you watch the news? >> yeah. >> this is detroit. it is horribly violent. >> not all these people live in detroit, though. >> it doesn't matter. trust me. >> you're very naive. the bottom line is, it's dangerous. it's dangerous. >> you know it is. >> yeah, i have to make money somehow. >> what we're trying to tell you
is, there's got to be something better. you're 18. you know, you're out there essentially by yourself. you're a child, in our eyes because we're much older than you, and we're concerned about you. and we're just trying to encourage you to do something else. find something else where you're not going to be in jeopardy. >> keep going down that hallway. we're going to go out the back door here on the left. >> i'm finding more and more the youth this day and age is very much what we just saw with her. they think this is their only option, and a lot of kids these days are looking for the most money, the shortest route, the least effort. >> frustrated, the officers suspect they've made little progress with this headstrong teen today. but they know it's only her first arrest for prostitution, and they hope that some time in a detention room might help her see things more clearly. >> maybe at the end of the evening, after sitting in there
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>> what's your date of birth? >> they're hunting primarily for juveniles and the pimps that employ them. >> one girl has caught the team's attention. she goes by the name of lil barbie and appears to be quite young. initial attempts to lure barbie to a hotel sting failed because the young woman was reluctant to travel. >> yeah. she sounds young. >> now the task force will attempt to bring the sting right to her front door. >> where did you say again? >> shortly after 3:00 p.m., the undercover gets the call back the whole team has been waiting for. >> thought we were doing a half hour for 150. >> it's lil barbie. she's holed up in a nearby hotel and open for business. >> should be there about 15. >> okay. uc is heading out. >> three arrest teams race to keep up with the undercover officer, michigan state trooper sanchez.
unarmed and wearing a wire, trooper sanchez is about to brave the unknown. >> okay. uc is making a turn in. i'm going to go by and double back. >> officers must stay close enough to protect sanchez without blowing his cover. they know that somewhere nearby a pimp is lurking and watching. >> okay. room number 214 is going to be on the west side. >> okay. we're going to pull around to the back. >> slowly and carefully, the other units begin to creep in closer to the target. >> uc is at the door knocking. door is open. uc's inside. >> officers listen anxiously to the static-filled exchange. >> they know that sanchez's safety depends on their ability to track and act on every detail. >> got a male walking in? >> suddenly a big man appears and swaggers up to room 214.
>> looks like a male to go up to the door to take the money. >> detectives suspect it may be lil barbie's pimp. >> get an eye on him. >> arresting officers continue their creep slow and stealthy into a striking position. >> he's got the money, black top. keep an eye on him. >> there he is. i see him. >> this is him right there. >> good deal. >> good deal. >> it's a good deal. >> go, go, go, go. >> police move in to take down barbie and the male suspect. >> keep your hands up! >> hands up! >> oh, i don't want to do nothing with you! i don't want to do nothing with you! stop! he took my clothes off. >> where your clothes at? >> when barbie realizes she is caught, she claims she's been raped. >> i'm not falling for this. you're going to jail no matter what. >> where's your clothes? >> no! stop!
>> where's your clothes? >> right there. >> i pee'd myself. please! i didn't do anything. he ripped my clothes off. >> put your pants on. >> i have a right, you know? >> right now you have a right to put your pants on. put them on. >> step out. >> hands up! hands up! >> despite barbie's hysterics, the male suspect is remarkably calm. >> get out of the car! get out of the car. don't play stupid with me. don't play stupid. get on your knees. keep your head down. >> the man is quickly subdued in the parking lot, but upstairs in room 214 lil barbie remains utterly inconsolable. >> i'm allergic to metal! ow! >> detectives suspect she may be under the influence of drugs. >> yeah. she's on something. >> please! please! i beg you.
>> she's on something. are you on anything right now? >> no! i don't do drugs. >> trooper sanchez was the first to make contact with barbie. >> it's -- it's over there. >> he offers another possible explanation for her amped-up state. >> upon entry she was upset, visibly upset, said that she just got beat up. asked her if she was okay, she didn't want to talk about it. she said -- she picked up the phone, called somebody and said it was her pimp, that the pimp was going to come upstairs and pick up the money in the room. >> police suspect barbie may have suffered a beating from the man just moments before they arrived. >> you can talk to her if she calms down. if not, she can go in the cage. >> after ten minutes in handcuffs, the fight has finally left lil barbie. >> okay? >> all right. >> how old is she? >> she said she's 19 on the phone. >> she just said, i'm underage. >> she did look young.
she advised earlier on the phone she was 19 years old. when we were in the room when she was upset and causing a tantrum, she advised she was underage. it has not been determined how old she is now. >> glennon recognizes barbie from a previous sting where she was caught with a different pimp and a crack pipe. >> you guys can start heading her down. >> the task force is careful to keep lil barbie isolated from her counterpart as they transport both of them back to the post for processing. coming up, concerned investigators throw a lifeline to lil barbie. >> if you want out, get you in a shelter, get you in a program to get you out of this life, we can.
as lil barbie must decide whether or not to cooperate. >> we're going to sit down and talk, okay? >> all right. >> don't worry. i'm not a bad guy. all right? >> investigators determine barbie's real identity. despite her initial claim, she is not underage. she is 19-year-old heather jiardan. >> you got kicked out of the house. how old were you? >> 18. my grandma kicked me out because i called her a bitch. >> like her and thousands like her, their path to prostitution began with desperation. >> i was stuck walking the street doing this life because i had no other -- i was trapped out there, basically. >> down the hall, officers interview heather's counterpart, an ex-felon known as miko. >> let's talk about today. >> okay. >> miko denies the pimp label and claims to be nothing more than heather's driver and bodyguard.
>> technically, i feel i'm doing a good thing by protecting someone. >> and how much do you make doing this? >> on average, i can get -- like on a $200 call i can get 50 bucks for driving a $200 call. on an in-call, it varies on what they want to give me. >> what does heather make? >> whatever she wants. 75% usually and she gives me 25%. >> while miko tries to paint a rosy picture of his arrangement with heather, the 19-year-old gives police the real deal. >> how much do you get to keep? >> it's a family concept. just give it all to him. >> he keeps everything? >> i never see any money. ever. like if i ask for some, he'll give me like $5. >> he won't give you like $100. >> he won't give me enough to run away with basically. no bitch shall keep a dime. that's the pimp rules.
>> heather told police she tried to run away from miko twice in four months but each time he's tracked her down and pulled her back into the game. >> he don't hurt you unless you mess up. >> what do you define as messing up? >> by not listening. >> so if you don't listen to what he says -- >> you get hurt bad. >> okay. >> so you have to obey. especially a girl my size. >> officers will now offer the teen a different way out. >> if you want out, if you want us to get you in a shelter, get you in a program to get you out of this life, we can. you have a choice. if you want to do that, we'll do that. we'll start making phone calls now, get you hooked up with a shelter and get you a safe place where no one will know where you're at. >> am i being charged with anything tonight? >> no. >> we want to make sure you're safe. >> this is your choice, heather.
if you want out now, we'll make phone calls and nobody will know where you are. >> if you want to make the choice later, that's okay. >> thank you guys. >> unfortunately, the task force can see heather is either too scared or paralyzed to make a change tonight. >> we'll go this way. >> before heading out the door and back to miko, heather agrees to sit down for an interview. >> so when we first entered the room, you were screaming. >> yeah. i was screaming. >> so you screamed that he raped you. >> well, he forcefully pushed me onto the ground and i didn't know what that was at first. and then he says, you're under arrest after he's on top of me. it was, like, get off me, get off me. so i thought, okay, this is some weird guy just trying to rape me. and i got mad at the cops for doing this. sorry i said that. but of course i didn't mean it. he did not rape me. >> our interview with heather is
briefly interrupted when police walk miko down the hallway. his very presence seems to affect her demeanor dramatically. >> i don't want to take sides on this. i can't -- it's dangerous to take sides on this. >> what do you mean? >> life or death. can we redo that part? >> what do you mean it's life or death? as in, like -- like people i know could get hurt. >> could you get hurt? >> no, no, no. not -- no. >> are you on anything right now? >> no! >> to appreciate the devastating reality that is heather's existence, one needs only to look carefully at the place that serves as her home today. amidst the sex toys, junk food and filth, a search of the squalid hotel room reveals a trove of letters and childlike drawings.
heather confirms she is the author of the stories which describe a daily life of torture, agony and sorrow. among the confessions there are angry rants against the police and love letters to miko, begging him never to leave. >> is he your pimp or your boyfriend? >> he's my boyfriend, not my pimp. >> but in your letters you call him daddy. >> because he's like a father to me. he takes care of me. >> how long you have been in the life? >> about a year and a half. >> so since you were how old? >> 17. >> did you not graduate from high school? >> no, i didn't. >> why did you leave high school? >> to be in the life. i wanted to be in the life. i like the life. i thought it was, you know, fun. >> when you take a female prostitute at the time of her arrest, it's easy to come up
with that understanding, like, why are you doing this, to not be sympathetic, you knew what you were getting into. however, when you get to know them and that's what we do here, find out their life stories and you realize this may be the only thing that they have, this may be the only family that's there for them, this may be the only way they feel they can survive. every person is motivated by certain things, and it may be a warm bed to sleep in. it may be someone who feels like they're loved. so like i said, there's a number of different facets working simultaneously that i think one has to really look at to really gain an understanding of why someone is in the situation they're in. >> so are you going to try to get out of the life? or -- >> just trying to rethink it. maybe it's not such a good idea anymore because someone could get hurt. could get killed. maybe raped. >> have you seen other girls get hurt? >> yes, i have. and i've seen real pimps actually beat their girls up
bad. >> how badly? >> so bad they'd be in the hospital. it's not worth it. >> those who advocate against human trafficking know that the outcome for victims like tina and heather is often grim without meaningful intervention. >> to those people who are preying on these young women, who are on the internet and trolling and looking for an easy target, what do you say to them? >> i say that it is violence. i say that you are hurting girls. i say that you are hurting women. >> oh, my god! >> you're hurting her inside, and the hurt that is there inside will be there and she will continue to hurt herself and let others hurt her until most likely she's gone and dead. and that's what happens. girls and women die because of this.
i had big dreams. >> they are teenage girls who came to texas with big hopes. >> translator: i dreamed of buying a house for my mom. >> but dreams of supporting loved ones back home became a nightmare of being trapped in a life of daily rape and beatings. >> you have people's daughters being raped basically in bars under threat of force. >> fueled by a booming sex industry. buying girls in texas has never been easier. >> houston is a hub.