The mother of a 15-year-old girl who was caught having sex with multiple boys inside a high school bathroom claims she is a victim of human trafficking.
The South Fort Myers High School sex scandal has shocked the world, after Snapchat videos of the incident circulated both around the school and on social media.
But now, the mother of the girl at the centre of the scandal has spoken to NBC News to ‘set the record straight’ and share her daughters side of the story.
The woman – who remains anonymous – enlisted the aid of Megan Estrem, who has worked with her daughter to act as a family representative during the interview.
Speaking to NBC News, Estrem, who is also the CEO of Be the Light – an advocacy group for victims of sex slavery – said:
Sex trafficking is a very traumatizing experience. She was only 13 when she was trafficked. I had heard a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it, and thought they’re some red flags. What’s upsetting about this is this behaviour is not uncommon for human trafficking victims.
The mother reportedly took her daughter to speak with Estrem after the girl was allegedly rescued from a trafficker who had held her captive for two years.
The girl was then placed into multiple treatment programs, with the most recent lasting eight months. But because she’s a runaway, only a handful of programs would accept her and none of them addressed the devastating impact of sexual abuse.
She had only been a student at the school for just two weeks before the group sex incident occurred on campus, a scenario in which Estrem believes the trafficking victim was not capable of making a ‘rational decision’ about.
According to the girl’s mother, her daughter had gone into the boys’ bathroom to chat to a boy she had a crush on. When she was inside, this is when the boy indicated that he wanted to have sex and she allegedly immediately accepted his request.
She did not sleep with 25 boys in the bathroom. There was only a handful that she did sleep with. In this case, it was more of a spectator sport. She has been in an environment where she has been told to behave a certain way, and there were severe consequences if she didn’t.
25 South Fort Myers High School male students have since been disciplined for engaging in inappropriate activity with the girl.