Inside Look at the Dangerous World of South Florida Sex Trafficking

South Florida has unfortunately become one of the top spots in the United States when it comes to sex slavery and activists in Miami-Dade are out trying to stop it.

Some of the women who have been sex trafficked exclusively sat down with NBC 6 to give an inside look at the dangerous world.

"It was just bad knowing that a girl got murdered or girls just went missing, you didn't know what happened to them, you didn't know where they would go. Nobody cared," Melissa Schwartz said.

Schwartz recalled the horror that was her existence for over a decade, the degrading and violent world of sex trafficking.

"He took me to his home and raped me and beat her up and to show me that not to cross him because otherwise that's what would happen to me," she recounted. "You know, being beaten up all the time, you know my hearing is bad now because I have been hit so many times, watching other girls being beaten and tortured in some type of way."

On Friday Schwartz and others sold as sex slaves spoke in Doral to a group of predominately women about what needs to be done to halt what experts say is an now epidemic in South Florida.

Victim Nancy Chacon said her clients were located by pimps on websites.

"When somebody introduces you to that and you into that lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, it's just another way of making money," Chacon said.

The group was marching in Hialeah to get the word out.

"He sent me to Chicago and sold me, me and the little girl, together," Schwartz said.

Schwartz said in her early teens her journey took her from Wisconsin to Chicago to Miami, all places she was shipped. She was forced to work the streets of South Beach.

"I felt like there was no getting away, there was no getting away," Schwartz said. "There were always eyes on you."

Schwartz finally did get away after getting arrested.

"I went to jail, I went to jail and they wouldn't let me out and they offered me a program to help me out and my trafficker ended up going to prison," she said.

Miami-Dade's Ivon Mesa is the county's point person out to help anyone trafficked.

"What we are doing at the communication action and human services department, the center is saving lives. We assist victims who come in destroyed," Mesa said.

Schwartz said now she's on the right track.

"I feel like God has brought me out of the depths of hell," she said. "I have learned how to be independent, self sufficient, confident, loved."

Both Schwartz and Chacon now have families and while it's not easy, they're trying to stay on the right track.

The county is responding to this need and set up a one-stop shop crisis center near Coconut Grove. If you need help or know someone who does please call the Miami-Dade Human Services Department at 305-285-5900 or the Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 or visit their website

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