A 15-year-old girl killed herself after being abducted by sex traffickers left her “broken and addicted”
Leticia “Letty” Serrano was just 13 years old when she was drugged and sold to sex traffickers.
Several days later she was rescued from her captors after being found in Moody Park in her home town of Houston, Texas. But her family say she never recovered from the ordeal.
Letty’s heartbroken father, Mariano Serrano, says that she couldn’t bear to be parted from the older man who lured her into a sex trafficking ring and got her addicted to drugs: “She wanted to be with him, but she also didn't want to hurt her family.”
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Letty’s abductor groomed her into becoming attached to him, focusing on emotional weak spots such as her isolation at school and the recent death of her brother. After being returned to her family home, Letty ran away twice to reunite with him.
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The family say that the unnamed man was arrested, but freed after just a few days. Mariano says that the man should face justice: “I want to see him in court,” he told Fox 26. “I want to tell him it's his fault my daughter is dead.”
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Letty celebrated her 15th birthday at home, surrounded by her family and wearing a red ballgown in a house bedecked with roses.
Six months later she died in her father’s arms.
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Letty's grandmother, Cynthia Rivera, wrote on Facebook: "When we got her back she was already broken and addicted at that point. The road to recovery was and is one of the hardest things for any child to overcome.”
Micah Gamboa, a director of anti-sex trafficking pressure group Elijah Rising, told ABC13 that Leticia’s story was “unfortunately very familiar“.
She claims that there are more than 300,000 sex trafficking victims in the state of Texas alone.
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“Entire cities are becoming red light districts. It’s no longer just a centralised or isolated issue. It’s actually spreading across the nation,” she said.
She said that suicide was rife among sex trafficking victims because their traffickers were so rarely caught.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK free on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch
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