Child sex trafficking growing concern in KC

Posted at 8:02 PM, Oct 18, 2017

KANSAS CITY,  Mo. — A local sex trafficking victim is sharing her story after years of sexual abuse in hopes of helping other vulnerable teens.

Christine McDonald left home at the age of 15 after several stints in the foster care system.

"I was befriended by a gentleman that provided me safety, a home, food and shelter, and eventually traded me off to an owner of several strip clubs," said McDonald.

RELATED: 3 minors recovered in KC area in FBI operation

McDonald was the victim of child sex trafficking. She met many of her traffickers along Independence Avenue. She says now the bad guys meet their future victims online.

"Bad guys pose as good guys, nice guys, your friend so they can build that relationship. So they don't have to snatch you in a white van. You'll come in on your own," said McDonald.

The founder of the Stop Trafficking Project, Russ Tuttle, says the predators know what they're doing.

"When a child is exploited there's a vulnerability that is exploited. If someone is a predator, looking to exploit a child. Social media is the perfect place to finds students," said Tuttle.

Tuttle says the primary vulnerabilities are:

  • Child's accessibility through social media.
  • Children in the foster care system
  • Members of the LGBTQ community
  • Victims of previous sexual abuse.

McDonald can clearly see how vulnerable she was at the tender age of 15.

"They said I was a runaway and I wasn't," McDonald said. "I had pain. I had hurt and nobody asked me what was going on. From 15 until I was an adult there was there never a missing report for me and I spent 20 years being bought and sold."