Websites that promote child sex trafficking are now on the radar of local authorities. They say children are being sold into prostitution, and the problem is only getting worse.
Only Eyewitness News has inside information on why that is and what you need to know about a new danger lurking in cyberspace.
KENS 5 is not providing the name of the actual websites. Officials fear that would encourage more traffic for websites that are already flooded with pimps using children as their meal ticket.
They are set up for johns...by johns, said Chris Burchell, President of Texas Anti-Trafficking In Persons. He asked that KENS 5 not not reveal the names of the websites to help keep more children from being victimized.
The website and identities of the featured clients have been disguised. He says this undisclosed website is a portal to the local underground industry of child sex trafficking. And the victims are getting younger and younger.
The higher the money, the lower the age will go, said Burchell.
In fact, he says 12 and 13 year-old girls are offered top dollar. He says if you think it's only an industry in third world countries... think again. He says little girls and boys are going missing in our own backyard.
It's right here in San Antonio. It's in every major city in Texas, said Burchell.
There's a method called 'Romeo and Juliet.' They're luring young girls that are dropped off at a mall, he said. It's very common to see runaways sold into prostitution.
In fact, Tuesday afternoon San Antonio police arrested a group of men for allegedly raping and forcing a 12-year-old runaway into prostitution. Unfortunately, it's a growing market and child advocates are combing these websites locally and nationally for clues.
They can click on any town for sex tourism. There are actually blogs they can go into, he said. Go to this club... They have a backroom upstairs.
Violent rapes, beatings and tyings, are some of the ways Burchell says the children are tortured and controlled. He also says the children are even advertised like livestock and they're forced to service 50 to 60 johns a night to meet a quota.
They may get a quota of $500 one night, said Burchell. And on a Friday or Saturday, $700 to $1,000.
We're talking about someone who thinks of human beings as a reasonable commodity, said Burchell.
He says local authorities are now flagging runaways who have left home more than once to investigate whether sex trafficking is at the root.
If you have any tips for authorities, you are urged to call the Polaris Project national hotline at 1(888)373-7888 or learn more at polarisproject.org