This is the story of two people: one paid for sex, one was sold for it.
We’ll call the buyer Jason.
Jason claims he purchased girls for sex without ever thinking about their age.
“All of this operates in the shadows,” he said. “All this operates in secrecy. I’m sure there are guys that say, ‘I don’t go to underage because I know.’ You don’t know.”
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The average age of trafficking victims is just 15 years old, according to Shared Hope International research study. The non-profit group works in the prevention of sex trafficking and the restoration of those who have been victimized through sex trafficking.
Jason said he purchased sex more than 25 times and never got caught.
“When I was in the midst of it, I never thought of sex trafficking,” he said. “I was paying to escape for 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour to escape.”
The Shared Hope International analysis also took a close look a who is purchasing girls for sex. They found the buyers are most often men around 40 years old.
“Typical American guy. Baseball, apple pie and mom. That’s me,” Jason agreed.
Jason says he had a great marriage for the first five to seven years. But after the birth of his second child, his wife seemed to lose interest in him. He still wanted that physical affection. But he said he was no longer getting it, so paying girls he found on Backpage.com became a way for him to fulfill that desire.
He got the sex he wanted, but lost his family.
“One of the worst days of my life, to have to tell them what I’d become,” he said. “I had it all and I chose to throw it away.”
Jason says he got divorced and lost custody of his children.
According to Shared Hope International, nearly a quarter of buyers hold a position of authority or trust, such as an attorney or law enforcement. Approximately one in five buyers have a job working with children.
Jason now says he regrets buying girls like Gaby. For two years, Gaby’s body was sold for sex. But now, she's becoming a voice for the thousands of women and girls who are lured and trapped into the world of trafficking.
Gaby hopes to expose what’s happening in bedrooms all around us.
“You wait for a knock on the door,” she said. “Then you have to hug them in a specific way where you would put your hands up the middle of their back and then go back down and around their hip because you had to check for guns, knives.”
She said she was kept on duty for eight hours a day, staying drunk and high to take away the pain. Buyers would pay up to $750 for an hour with her.
Gaby believes the man who trafficked her—and several other girls—was a college professor.
“He would open his laptop and make me read reviews on me,” she said. “He wants to make sure that his clientele isn’t disappointed.”
Gaby’s buyers revealed personal details about their lives. They were women’s husbands and daughters’ fathers.
The husbands and fathers who purchased Gaby and thousands of girls others like her are the reason so many girls are exploited, manipulated and assaulted.
If you see something or someone suspicious, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST. Tips are anonymous.