Teen lured into prostitution through Facebook

May 31, 2012 3:28:12 AM PDT
A family hopes you will hear its warning. It wants to share the story of how a 12-year-old girl was lured into prostitution, in hopes that it won't happen to anyone else's child.

The young victim no longer lives in Houston, but investigators believe she wasn't the only one targeted and the story should serve as a warning to all parents.

The girl is from Houston, but a relative in the Austin area is telling the story.

"You could just tell she'd been through a lot, hell on earth," said the victim's aunt, Crystal Whalon.

She says her niece met someone on Facebook and was lured into a situation she never expected. She thought she was being invited to some kind of show.

"Basically they brought her to an undisclosed location and was basically pimped out like a prostitute," Whalon said.

Her family frantically searched for her. After two days, the GPS from her cell phone led them to her and they believe it saved her life.

"I had no clue that this was going on in central Texas. I thought it was a Third World country situation," said Whalon.

Police across Texas say there are many ways predators get to kids from the phone to the internet.

"It is a growing issue down here," said Det. Joel Pridgeon with the Austin Police Department.

From text messages and pictures to contact by social media, children are being lured in.

"The big stereotype is that there is one type of child that engages in this behavior and that couldn't be farther from the truth. All children are at risk," Det. Pridgeon said.

Whalon's niece is safe now, but says she is sharing this sensitive story to warn other families.

"Stay engaged. Stay close to your youth. Don't think that can't happen to your child," said Whalon.

Police are still looking into the case, but so far no one has been arrested.

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