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Top News Now safe: teenager whose mother was selling her for drug money

Now safe: teenager whose mother was selling her for drug money

A teenager who was being sold by her own mother is now living far away and in safety thanks to a swift intervention by Hope for Justice’s Midwest Regional Center.

Our investigators at the center, which is based in Iowa but covers a wider geographical region, received a call for assistance from a person living in California, called Emily. We were told that Emily’s much younger sister, Becky*, was being sold by their biological mother for money and drugs. It later transpired that this nightmare for Becky had begun when she was only seven years old.

Emily and Becky are half-sisters, they both share the same mother; however, Emily is now an adult while Becky is still a younger teenager. Emily recently learned what was happening – that her sister was a victim of human trafficking at the hands of their own mother – and immediately called Hope for Justice for help. Emily said she could provide a good home for Becky where she would be safe, and that she would be willing to become Becky’s legal guardian.

After receiving the call, our investigators met with Emily to gather as much information as possible. They realized the urgency of the situation and acted quickly to remove Becky from this situation of abuse. Emily turned this information over to law enforcement in her area and the case was investigated; however, not enough information was developed for the local police department to act immediately.

Instead, Hope for Justice worked with family court and with a private attorney. We also assisted with a forensic interview with Emily, where the information was corroborated and used in the court proceedings. Our team coordinated with Victim Services, who began working with Becky and Emily.

We kept pushing to ensure the guardianship transfer could move forward, while also working with Child Services. With their assistance, and following thorough background checks to ensure Emily was a suitable guardian and was telling the truth, the court was able to change Becky’s last name and award guardianship.

Hope for Justice team leader for the Midwest Region, Senior Investigator David Gonzalez (pictured), said: “We were able to remove Becky from an exploited situation and place her with a family member who can continually provide her much-needed support.”

Becky is now safe with her sister, living far away from the mother. Becky continues to receive victim services and the criminal investigation continues.

*Names changed to protect identities

young girl