Sex traffickers targeting St. Louis-area middle school students
Thirty-year-old Stephen Ardrey, of Springfield, Mo., has pleaded guilty to charges he took a 17-year-old girl with learning disabilities from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where he sold her for sex. By Sarah Heath
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The organizer of a national conference on child sex trafficking says middle school students are being targeted.
The conference in St. Louis this week featured leading experts on child sex trafficking. KMOX Radio reports that St. Louis sees more than its share of the crime because of its central location and the fact that so many interstate highways pass through the region.
Conference organizer Molly Hackett says many young teenagers who become prostitutes are first approached by traffickers online and groomed to trust a stranger. They eventually meet and are lured to run away.
She urges parents to discuss the dangers of sex trafficking with their middle school-aged children.