An eight-month investigation into human trafficking in Florida has led to the arrest of six adults who are accused of luring a teen and using him as a sex slave, authorities said Monday.
The six suspects used the 15-year-old boy as a sex slave for nearly a year, keeping him in a filthy trailer, authorities said at a news conference in St. Petersburg. A second teen was also being kept by the suspects, officials said.
The arrests in St. Petersburg are an example of the lasting effects of human trafficking, which The Woman's Fund of Miami says happens every day.
"Sex trafficking is an issue in our county. It's not foreign and it's not fiction. It's real and it's local and it's here 365 days a year," Executive Director Kathy Andersen said.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said Florida ranks third in the nation for human trafficking. She said her office works around the clock to combat the issue with The Women's Fund.
"This is a $32 billion industry just in the United States and it's preying on these young, very vulnerable victims. The average age of our victims are between the ages of 13 and 23," Fernandez Rundle said.