Sex trafficking victim shares story of torture, abuse

Nationwide sting rescues 168 children, results in 281 arrests

SAN ANTONIOThe recent FBI sting that rescued 168 children from the sex trade and arrested 281 pimps during the same period on state and federal charges has one survivor sharing her story.

Katherine Symthe is a survivor of child sex trafficking. 

She said she feels stings like the recent Operation Cross Country VIII have to happen more often. 

"I wear tinted glasses because for the first seven years of my life, I was locked in a closet and I was only allowed at night when they sold me," said Symthe.

That was just one form of torture Symthe endured during her childhood.

For the first 17 years of her life, she was abused and sold around as part of the sex trade.

She said she feels the FBI's nationwide crackdown on child prostitution is just skimming the surface of what's really happening.

"Every hour, a child is being abused. Every hour, a child is being sold. Every hour, every minute," said Symthe.

During Operation Cross Country VIII, a four-day nationwide operation to crack down on commercial child sex trafficking, three children from San Antonio were rescued and one local pimp was arrested. Colorado had the largest round-up, resulting in the rescue of 18 children and the arrests of more than a dozen people.

FBI Director James Comey said the round up is proof that this is a common problem.

"These aren't far away kids in faraway lands. These are our kids on our street corners, our truck stops, our motels our casinos. These are America's children," said Comey.

As a survivor of child sex trafficking, Symthe said she hopes more is done.

"Tougher legislation against the buyers of children, and not persecute the victims," said Symthe. 

Symthe is the creator and CEO of Healing Survivors, Creating Thrivers. Her mission is to become global voices against abuse.

And if you think sex trafficking is going on in your neighborhood or if you feel you've come in contact with a victim, call The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733).

This is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.