FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – During the FBI’s Operation Cross Country, 84 minors were recovered. They were victims of sex trafficking. No minors were recovered in Northeast Indiana, but agents identified several traffickers here, and arrested six pimps. As police work to get traffickers off the street, people locally are fighting back with education.
“No one believes it,” Crista Miller said. “Even now that I’m screaming it from the rooftops people still say to me ‘really in Fort Wayne, Indiana?'”
Crista Miller knows where those people are coming from. No more than a year ago she was in their shoes.
“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes,” Miller said. “If I hadn’t seen the reality of if with my owns eyes I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Miller’s teen ran away from home. The family found her more than a day later. Miller’s child was not trafficked, but she saw how close it had come.
Now, she’s speaking to young people and parents about human trafficking with her organization Giving Teens Grace.
“Giving them the grace to make mistakes,” Miller said. “We’re going to love you through this, and we expect you to make mistakes, but we want you to come to us.”
With parents, Miller focuses on technology, and how to manage it.
“The information age has taken over and so have predators,” Miller said.
Miller knows completely banning a teen from technology is hard, if not impossible, so she said parents need to do their research about different apps they can have to monitor and manage their kids’ technology use. Miller’s number one goal is to get parents talking.
“Talk to them about what’s going on,” Miller said. “Give them the guidance they need so when they do fall they don’t overreact and come straight to you.”
Operation Cross County took place between October 12-15 with agencies across the country. The simultaneous nationwide sweep happens once a year, but local agents say they are constantly doing their own investigations and arresting predators all year.
To hear Miller and her family’s full story click here.