Houston PI found 15-year-old girl taken from Dallas Mavs game, sold into sex trafficking

It shocked parents when a 15-year-old girl, who went to a Dallas Mavericks game with her dad, was taken from the stadium and sold into a world that’s far from the suburbs where she's from. It has also opened people's eyes to how widespread human trafficking is. 

"It didn’t surprise me (where she was taken from). I did not find it shocking that he could lure her away from her family. I’ve seen it so many times...Most (trafficking victims) have quotas of $1,000/$1200 a day. If you extrapolate that over seven days a week. There are no days off. Over the course of a year that’s a lot of money," says JB, the Houston man who found the girl after she was taken in April 2022.

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He's been a Houston Private Investigator rescuing trafficked kids for eight years now. 

"Her mother had a childhood friend whose daughter I had recovered a number of years ago here in Houston," explains JB.

Most trafficking victims are said to be hidden in plain sight but to rescue them JB has to travel into sections of cities and really into a world most of us only see from the safety of our televisions. "Secondary trauma is real. It increases my anxiety when you’re in an area where armed robberies, carjackings, beatings, rapes, assaults of all sorts, are common" he explains.

After receiving pictures of the 15-year-old from her mom, JB started looking for her online and in five hours he found her. "It was obviously an ad for sex. (And you could clearly see that?) Oh, absolutely. (And you could clearly see her face?) Absolutely," explains JB.

The teen was being trafficked for sex in Oklahoma and had been placed in online advertisements for sex. "She looked distraught, surprised that somebody was taking her picture and did not look like she was posing intentionally for an ad," JB says, and he explains how he felt anxious to get her and all the kids he rescues back home before they’re too scarred and harmed.

"Absolutely and unfortunately that doesn’t happen enough of the time. A child that’s being trafficked is literally being raped eight, 10, 12 times a day," he says.

The 15-year-old was rescued after about 11 days. Several people have been charged in connection with trafficking the 15-year-old, including 33-year-old Emanuel Cartagena who investigators say lured the teen away from the stadium.

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The youngest girl JB rescued from sex trafficking was just 11-years-old. "We’ve had a few 12-year-olds, several 13-year-olds. The majority are 14 to 16-years-old". 

JB is a full-time PI who donates his services to find trafficking victims, never charging families a penny. "It needs to be done. For me personally, it’s a ministry." Even as he saves one child, there are plenty of others in need of rescuing, and many who return home who will never be the same.

"There’s no real happily ever after. We just fight to make tomorrow better than yesterday," he says.

JB is the co-founder of the non-profit group the Texas Counter Trafficking Initiative. They work mostly on donations.