A truly tragic story has come out of Houston, Texas.
A 15-year-old girl who’d been rescued after becoming the victim of sex trafficking ultimately decided to take her own life, according to reports.
A heartbreaking tragedy
Local ABC affiliate KTRK reported that 15-year-old Letty Serrano was taken when she was just 13 years old by a man who kept her drugged and sold her as a sex slave. Her family eventually found and rescued her from that terrible plight, but they said she was never really the same person after her return.
“She was a great girl. She was a good student and she loved her puppies,” the girl’s grandmother, Cynthia Rivera, told KTRK. “We got her back damaged… I feel like I let her down.”
A growing problem
Micah Gamboa, the executive director of a group known as Elijah Rising, told KTRK that Serrano’s tragedy was “a very familiar story, unfortunately.”
Gamboa’s Houston-based non-profit organization — whose mission is to end sex trafficking through “prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration” — estimates that there are thousands of sex trafficking victims in Houston alone, and potentially as many as 300,000 such victims across the entire state of Texas.
“Entire cities are becoming red-light districts,” Gamboa said. “It’s no longer just a centralized or isolated issue. It’s actually spreading across the nation.”
A hopeful future
Fox affiliate KRIV in Houston reported that the Serrano family is now hoping and praying that they can find justice in the wake of the young girl’s horrible death.
Serrano had locked herself in a bathroom where she died on the morning of Oct. 12. Her father attempted to break in and stop her, but it was too late.
“She died in my arms,” he said through tears. The family is now searching for justice, and wants to see the man who held Serrano held accountable for the girl’s suicide.
“I want to see him in court,” the 15-year-old’s father said. “I want to tell him it’s his fault my daughter is dead.”
In addition to raising awareness about sex trafficking, the family is also contacting area schools to discuss doing more with students on suicide prevention.