Why it’s important to openly talk to teens about sex trafficking dangers
Boys are sometimes the silent victims, officials say
San Antonio – San Antonio police say it took courage for the two male teen victims to speak up about their involvement in a human trafficking case that lead to the arrest of 27-year old Zachary Neuhaus a week ago.
According to an arrest affidavit, Neuhaus was arrested on two counts of continuous trafficking of persons after the two victims turned him into police.
The victims met Neuhaus on social media while they were looking to buy drugs, the affidavit said.
The report says the suspect immediately expressed a sexual desire for the first victim. Neuhaus asked the victims for nude photos in exchange for free drugs.
The relationship then progressed to sexual acts where the suspect would perform acts on the victims and allegedly recorded it when the victims were “intoxicated with alcohol and drugs" inside the suspect’s apartment at Nacogdoches Road and Dreamwood Drive, per the report.
The victims say the suspect would threaten them not to speak out or the images would be shared on social media.
“The fact that these men stepped forward speaks volume to their level of courage to come forward and say, ‘enough is enough,’” said Officer Alicia Pruneda.
The victims told police Neuhaus would often brag about having other victims from the nearby high school. We reached out to the nearby high school and the spokesperson for the school district said police had not made them aware of the situation.
Yvette Sanchez with the Children’s Shelter says there are tell tale signs parents need to look for if they suspect their child is a victim.
“We don’t often see boys, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” she said. " What that means to me is that people aren’t talking about it."
She says teens who are victims of sex trafficking are often secretive with their phone calls and texts. Parents should look for social exclusion and isolation.
Traffickers often target vulnerable youth, but not always. They lure boys and girls with things they want. “I think with girls, it’s a lot of shiny materialistic things, for boys it could be something different, maybe drugs, transportation, maybe a car, a ride,” she said.
She urges parents and schools to openly talk about what human trafficking is and what it looks like.
To report a human trafficking case to SAPD, call the Sex Crime Unit, 210-207-2313 or Night Detectives 210-207-7389.
Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.