(WJBK) - A nationwide sex trafficking sting got major results here in metro Detroit. Twelve pimps were arrested and 19 kids were rescued from a life of prostitution. The mother of one of the rescued girls is sharing her story and answering some of the questions so many of us have.
The painful reality of what her daughter's life had become came with a phone call from the FBI at 2:00 in the morning.
"There was a raid in a hotel room and my daughter was in there," the mother, who we'll call Gabby, tells FOX 2. "My daughter didn't want me to know, and they finally told me that she was a victim of human trafficking."
Gabby shudders when she thinks of what her 17-year-old daughter was forced to do.
"I think about it but I try not to stay there because it breaks my heart. It makes me literally sick," Gabby says. "She's just a kid."
"How did she get involved in this?" FOX 2's Randy Wimbley asks Gabby.
"I couldn't tell ya," Gabby says. "I've done everything that I could possibly do to keep her safe, and sometimes you just can't because, the kids, they don't want to listen to you." She says her daughter ran away from home in July. They had minimal contact with one another until now.
Gabby doesn't know how or even when a pimp began exploiting her.
"They target kids that are vulnerable, and my daughter is very vulnerable. She's a beautiful girl. She's smart; she's sweet; but she's vulnerable. She doesn't understand what's going on out there in the world," Gabby says.
Gabby wants parents to know what happened to her daughter can happen to theirs. She has an equally important message for kids.
"When you're a teenager and you're growing up you think you know everything but you don't, and your parents know better and they're trying to keep you safe. So you need to listen to your parents," she pleads.
More than 150 people were arrested in the national sting and 149 children were freed from the hands of sex traffickers. They rescued children from 135 cities. The agency says the girls ranged from be 12 to 17 years old.
The FBI pulled this off with a lot of help from state police and a number of local agencies. So many families are thankful for their efforts.
Locally, most of the girls rescued are with their families now and in a program for sex trafficking victims. The cities in which the girls were found include Detroit, Madison Heights, Ferndale, Kalamazoo, Redford, Warren, Dearborn and Clinton Township. Unfortunately, authorities say one girl has ran away from home after being returned to family.