OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - An Ogdensburg woman is speaking out about the sexual slavery of her 13 year old daughter.
Mary’s daughter came back changed. She wasn’t the smart, funny girl who loved riding horses and won ribbons for it. She was malnourished and bruised.
“I was so, so sad, confused - wondering how a 13 year old, my daughter, my beautiful daughter, ends up with a tattoo on her neck,” said Mary, whose last name we’re withholding due to the nature of this report.
Her daughter escaped on her second try. Mary found her waiting at their house when she came home from work.
Her daughter told her she had taken a taxi home. It happened in 2018 when they lived in south Florida.
Mary reported her daughter missing immediately. It was more than 24 hours before police talked to her.
“Desperation, extreme worry. I begged them to start a search for her,” said Mary.
Her daughter had had troubles before. She had been in family court and in a juvenile home for a time. But it was nothing like this – tagged with a tattoo on her neck, something child sex traffickers often do.
“But to think it could happen to my daughter, I didn’t,” said Mary.
No arrests were ever made. There were suspects traced to a hotel where sex traffickers often operate.
This could happen anywhere, including in the north country.
Now Mary wants to keep anyone else from going through what she did. A first step came Monday when the St. Lawrence County Legislature recognized January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
“This is the beginning of a movement for change. It is not okay to do this to people. It ruins these girls, and boys, it’s not just girls, but ruins these kids’ lives,” said St. Lawrence County Legislator Rita Curran.
Mary has since moved back to Ogdensburg. Her daughter is rehabilitating from her trauma at a residential facility.