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State steps up efforts to end child sex trade

“In the weeks before Bridgeport police rescued the teenager from the motel, she’d been forced by her pimp to have two tattoos identifying her as belonging to him inked on her face and neck.

She’d been given morphine and crack. And she’d been sold on the internet, she told police, “to over 50 or 60 dirty men.”

The girl, who was 17 when she was pulled from “the life” Aug. 26, 2015, is one of more than 650 children and adolescents referred to the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) as victims of sex trafficking since 2008. Nearly one-third of those were referred to DCF last year alone, a result of the state’s ramping up its anti-exploitation efforts.

“The internet has completely changed predators’ access to youth, youths’ vulnerabilities and the hidden nature of the crime,” said Erin Williamson, survivor support coordinator of Love146, in New Haven. Love146 is an international nonprofit dedicated to ending child sex trafficking.”

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