(WSVN) - Millions of kids across the country are enslaved in the human trafficking industry every year, but one Miami tattoo shop owner is working to put an end to it in South Florida. 7’s Brian Entin has an exclusive look at how she’s helping law enforcement across the country “Targeting Traffickers.”
Young men and women, even children, are lured into sex trafficking rings every day.
Investigator, 2013: “The youngest victim recovered through this mission was 9 years old.”
Some — never to be seen again — but others, like Melissa, get a second chance. She escaped four years ago but is still haunted by the terrifying memories every day.
Melissa Schwartz, sex trafficking victim: “The screams in my head, the nightmares. There was a lot of things that need to be dealt with, and then from there, I met so many awesome people that helped me.”
Amor Sierra is one of the people who stepped in to help.
Like many sex trafficking victims, Melissa was branded with a tattoo. Amor owns Miami Tattoo Company and has been covering these sickening brands for two years now.
Amor Sierra: “We’re using tattooing for healing.”
But helping erase the inked evidence wasn’t enough. Amor wanted to help those escape who were still trapped.
So she’s getting out of her shop, helping officers across the country track down traffickers with an organization called Deliver Fund.
And she’s bringing that experience home.
Investigator speaking to group: “We’re here because we’re supporting each other in this fight against human trafficking.”
We got an exclusive look inside Homeland Security for a meeting of the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.
We couldn’t show the faces of some of the undercover agents, but they say they have no issue exposing traffickers.
Carmen Pino, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security: “People started to open their eyes and see, ‘Wow, this is really happening in my backyard.'”
Their latest hunting ground: the internet, because this is where the human traffickers post ads offering sex for sale.
Carmen Pino: “We’re seeing different websites being exploited in order for them to hide underground.”
Amor is helping bring predators out of the darkness, using special software which searches for and finds the seedy ads.
Amor Sierra: “There’s 15 to 17 different identifiers, words, different things we’re specifically looking for on ads.”
The best part: They’re using the criminals’ own weapon against them.
Carmen Pino: “Just as much as they’re using the internet, we too look to those platforms.”
Amor’s goal is to get the software in to every local police department.
Amor Sierra: “Just being able to make a difference.”
So they can continue “targeting traffickers” and bring more victims home safe.
To learn more about Deliver Fund or the Human Trafficking Task Force:
Miami Tattoo Co:
South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force:
Life of Freedom Center:
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