On Tuesday, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children held a conference on the issue.
Theresa Flores is a survivor.
"I was just a normal kid, living in the suburbs, with two parents and I wasn't beaten or drugged or wasn't a bad kid, I was targeted by a group of guys that wanted to make a lot of money off of me," said Theresa Flores, a child sex trafficking survivor.
Theresa told her story at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's sex trafficking conference.
"The individuals that are trying to lure kids into this life are incredibly manipulative. They know where the kids congregate. They get kids in the malls, they get kids in the parks, they get kids at high school basketball games, they know where the kids are," said Ed Suk, NCMEC Executive Director.
Theresa was a typical teenager, living outside of Detroit, Michigan. She made friends with a group of guys, she described as "nice" and "charming." But after six months, that changed.
"Here I am 15 and have a crush on this guy by now and thought great this is just a ride home from school but he didn't take me home," said Flores.
"He took me to his house and used a lot of excuses. Drugged me and raped me and they had pictures taken of that, and then blackmailed me with these pictures to try to earn them back for about two years," said Flores.
Theresa escaped the abuse when her family moved and didn't tell anyone until years later.
Often times, the young victims are runaways.
"We have kids right in our area here in Rochester that are being trafficked and we had several local cases recently that have also brought those issues to the forefront. It's critical that we identify these kids and get them out of harms way," said Suk.
Theresa hopes her story will help save others.
"To wake people up. To say this can happen to anybody," said Flores.
Theresa Flores is the author of "The Slave Across the Street." It's the true story of how she survived the world of human trafficking.
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