"She wasn't a drug addict. She wasn't out partying. She was a good kid," the girl's mother, who we refer to as "Dorothy" said. Her 16-year-old daughter, who we refer to as "Jill," was the victim of a sex trafficking ring. "I have good grades in school. I have awesome friends. I'm closer to my mom, my family," Jill said.
"You don't think something like this could happen to a family like ours," Dorothy told ABC7 News. But tragically it did happen to the family who lived in a nice, safe suburban neighborhood. Jill applied for a babysitting job with a couple who had just moved in. 'I started babysitting for them and then like a while after that, is when things started to be revealed," Jill said.
It turns out that the couple was trafficking young girls including some of Jill's friends. They advertised on the internet, meeting in hotel rooms. David Prince is an assistant special agent in charge of ICE. "Ultimately, she was coerced and then forced into the trafficking business," he said.
"They beat my friends and I saw it. Like, my friend had a broken collarbone and just, I was scared," Jill recalled. "They were involved with gangs and drugs and just, violence, and I wanted not only to protect myself, but my family. They knew where I lived. They knew my friends. They had control over me."
Then one day, Dorothy received a call from police who said her daughter was among a group arrested at a hotel for prostitution. "When I got the call, I was in denial. I thought there was some kind of mistake," she said. The traffickers were arrested and later convicted with the help of Jill's testimony in court. "It's been a long road, but we're strong and she's strong, and she's beautiful, and I'm so proud of her," Dorothy said.
Jill wanted her story told for one reason. "I don't want anybody to go through this because I suffer from it on a daily basis and I have to live with his for the rest of my life," she said.
Note: This interview was shot by the ICE agent who handled Jill's case. She and her mother fear retaliation and only felt comfortable talking to the agent. ICE provided the entire interview to ABC7 News and it was edited down for this story.