Group Aims To End Child Trafficking

Friday, April 17th 2009, 9:45 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Advocates for a national campaign to stop child trafficking raised money in Tulsa on Friday night.

Millions of children are sold into slavery every year, and some in Oklahoma are among the victims.

The numbers are staggering, but the stories are simply shocking.

"We jumped a fence," said Angie, a victim. "That's really hard to do in high heels. We're walking around, there's a lot of semis and there's also a lot of girls out there. And a lot of them look like they're about half our age, like 8 or 9 years old."

For those who believe the buying and selling of children is a third-world problem or something that only happens in big cities, Stop Child Trafficking Now says think again.

A video from the Department of Justice is of an Oklahoma City truck stop.

"Being 13, I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing," said another victim, Sara. "All I know is what I was told to do day in, day out. I probably met 30 or 40 truckers, more than likely more. I really tried not to keep count."

"She was forced to perform different sex acts on these men for different prices and then at the end of the night would turn her money over, all of her money over to this individual," said Mike Beaver with the FBI.

Lynette Lewis is president and co-founder of Stop Child Trafficking Now. The group is launching a national campaign to end modern-day slavery by going after the buyers.

She wants to fund teams of operatives who infiltrate the child trafficking network and help send these predators to jail.

"And it broke my heart, kept me up at night, made me feel angry, frustrated, desperate, paralyzed," Lewis said. "And after toying with it for about six to eight months, decided I had to do something."

Lewis is in Tulsa, where she graduated from college, to try to raise money and awareness.

"If we band together, before too long, we could start having enough arrests," she said. "Before long, people won't be willing to take the risk anymore. And that's what we're hoping to achieve."

Lewis and a member of the U.S. state department spoke at Victory Christian on Friday. Another Tulsa event is planned for September.