Years ago, we received a phone call from a mother. She had heard about us on the news, and reached out for help.
Upon calling, the mother immediately burst into tears. She explained that her teenage daughter had sent a video of herself to her "boyfriend", who eventually became her trafficker. After the video was sent, the trafficker began threatening her. He said that he would share the video with the girl’s father if she did not do as he wanted. He began trafficking the girl by forcing her to post videos of herself on FreeWebCam.com. According to the mother, he had been using this tactic with multiple other girls.
FreeWebCam.com is linked to multiple websites, and can allow people to prey on children. When her daughter uploaded videos, she would do so from her bedroom, where she had a Justin Bieber poster hanging. The mother felt that the poster should indicate to anyone watching that the girl in the video was a CHILD. She could not understand why an adult would knowingly watch videos of her daughter after seeing this poster in the background.
Soon, the girl began falling asleep in class, which made her teacher notify the guidance counselor. They were able to set up a meeting, where the girl told her guidance counselor what was happening. As a mandated reporter, the guidance counselor notified appropriate authorities.
Luckily, we were able to sign the mother up for counseling. She mentioned that she felt like a bad parent. We assured her that she was not a bad mother, and that there are some people who specifically target children online.
After this call, we began training young girls by visiting high schools in the area, and presenting information regarding human trafficking.
THIS is WHY we do what we do at Project Mona’s House.