FORT MYERS, Fla. — While many are casting judgment after hearing about video and images showing a 15-year-old girl having sex with dozens of boys in the bathroom of South Fort Myers High School, her mother is hoping sharing her daughter’s story of being a victim of sex trafficking will set the record straight.
The county’s sheriff’s office has became involved after images and videos of the sex acts ended up on social media.
The girl’s mom did not go on camera, but a woman who has worked with the girl served as the family’s spokesperson.
“I had heard about a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it and thought there are some red flags,” said Megan Estrem. “What’s upsetting about this is this behavior is not uncommon for human trafficking victims.
Estrem is the founder of “Be the Light,” an advocacy group for victims of sex slavery. “Sex trafficking is a very traumatizing experience,” she said.
The girl’s mom took her daughter to the organization after having saved her from a human trafficker who held her captive for two years.
“She was only 13 when she was trafficked,” said Estrem. The girl was placed into multiple treatment programs, the most recent was eight months long.
She was a student at South Fort Myers High only two weeks when the incident happened. “She was not equipped to make a stable, rational decision in that situation,” said Estrem.
Her mother said the girl went to the boys bathroom to talk to a boy she had a crush on. She said the boy wanted sex, and her daughter complied — then word got out.
“She did not sleep with 25 boys in the bathroom. There was only a handful that she did sleep with. In this case, it was more of a spectator sport,” said Estrem.
It lasted an hour and ended because the students involved had somewhere else to be.
“She has been in an environment where she has been told to behave a certain way, and there were severe consequences if she didn’t,” said Estrem.
The girl’s mom has pulled her out of school. She is trying to protect her from the rumors, comments and video swirling around the internet right now.
“What happens is not to go straight to shaming and sharing this, but find out there all facts, what happened, why did she do this, who else was involved and what was their role. She needs to be prayed for and encroached, not degraded and discouraged,” said Estrem.
If you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1(888) 373-7888.