Fort Worth mothers band together in anti-sex trafficking effort

Fort Worth moms fight sex trafficking

FORT WORTH, Texas -- They may lack a little in funding and resources, but a group of Cowtown mothers is more than making up for it with passion and resilience.

Sharon Buse is the driving force behind a relatively new organization called Not In My Neighborhood, or NIMN. It aims to inform parents and teens about the dangers of sex trafficking. 

"You can sell a drug once. You can sell a child over and over again," said the retiree.

Buse launched the group earlier this year after getting encouragement from local law enforcement.

She had noticed an uptick in sex trafficking cases, even in Fort Worth, where some of her neighbors "didn't want to hear it."

"It's not an easy subject," she said. "But it really can happen anywhere, to any child or teen."

In October, federal investigators and Fort Worth police broke open a huge trafficking ring that was partly operating out of a Super 8 Motel on South Freeway, according to a federal complaint.

Eight men were arrested, some of them with pimp names like 'Green Light' and 'Slik,' while seven girls, including underage teenagers, were rescued.

The bust is merely the most recent example of what NIMN says is a trend too many parents ignore.

"These people groom the kids, and it can be rich kids," said Cathy Seifert. She volunteers for the group and has helped organize a series of townhall, community-style meetings with trafficking experts.

"The predators, they spot 'em. 'Not that one.Yes, that one!' They can pick them up that quick, and it sent a chill up my spine, 'That easy?'" said Seifert.

On Thursday evening, the group hosts a meeting in the Las Vegas Trail area, a zip code that has long featured heavy crime that includes sex trafficking. 

But the moms point out it really doesn't matter where a family lives because teens and women of all backgrounds are susceptible.

"It happens with cheerleaders, with honor roll students. No one is immune," one mother told WFAA on Tuesday. "It's here. It's everywhere."

She asked WFAA not use her name because her daughter was a victim in North Texas. She'll be speaking at the forum Thursday, along with representatives from Fort Worth police and Homeland Security, because the topic needs more exposure. 

"We need to turn on the lights for people," she said. "And it isn't always obvious, like at a football game. These men groom the girls."

In 2015, Fort Worth police investigated 17 human trafficking cases. That figure jumped to 28 last year, according to department statistics.

But a law enforcement source says this year alone there're already 44 cases being investigated in the city, many involving multiple victims. 

Click here for more information on this week's meeting.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment