By Pamela Escobar on October 9, 2013—
“A Charlotte man accused of sex Trafficking made his first appearance in court Wednesday.
Detectives said 30-year old Tony Drum recruited a teen girl through an online chat-room. Police said Drum drove to South Carolina picked the girl up then forced her to work in Charlotte as a prostitute.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. The FBI has said Charlotte is a hub for human sex trafficking.
Detectives with the sexual assault unit said Tony Drum allegedly operated from various Charlotte hotels and forced at least two women under 18 across state lines and into prostitution.
A survivor of human trafficking said this case is not unique.
“It’s very widespread and people are traveling up and down the coast.”
She asked us to hide her identity and disguise her voice to tell her story.
“I was put in the strip clubs and I was put on the streets to walk.”
For 8 months, she said she endured the abuse out of fear.
“I was scared, scared if I talked to somebody or if they’d try to help me that I would get in trouble or get beat up or have to work harder.”
Detectives with the CMPD sexual assault unit said local motels can be more vigilant when they see suspicious activity.
“We’re starting to see cases. We don’t have that many but we are starting to see them and our department is taking a proactive stance with these sex trafficking, human trafficking cases,” said Detective Chris Rush, “And we’re now looking into these issues whenever we see a possibility.”
As a survivor of human trafficking, this woman said anyone can help the victims.
“People think, ‘I could donate this– that will help them.’ No, because they could go out there and get the money, just like they were. That’s not the issue. The issue is, being by their side, giving of your time, and being a mentor — somebody they can look up to.”
There are resources in the Charlotte area to help the victims of human trafficking. Hope House based in Asheville is opening a shelter for minors here in our area on October 26, 2013. And Rise Up helps women who are over 18 years old.”
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