Post Falls family warn of sex trafficking dangers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Post Falls family warn of sex trafficking dangers

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POST FALLS, Idaho -

“I love you unconditionally.”

Those heartbreaking words are from a father we’ve interviewed previously.

A north Idaho family tells KHQ this was more than a runaway situation, this was one of the worst things a parent can experience.

In June, a local family contacted KHQ and asked for help to find their daughter.

According to police, the 17-year old girl got on a plane in Spokane and disappeared in Seattle.

Officers were able to locate her safely nearly a month later after investigators say she called someone back home in Kootenai County.

This was not the end the family had prayed for.

KHQ received a tip, later confirmed by her parents, that she was advertised on Backpage, a website similar to Craigslist that has been accused of promoting prostitution.

The ads read, “looking for some fun tonight, my place or yours, generous men only please,” and the pictures are graphic, including nude images of what appears to be the underage girl.

According to investigators, the girl was talking to someone online who told her she could make some money if she came to Seattle.

"It may not be a problem here locally, but it is in bigger cities next to us, so we need to be aware of and take the necessary steps to try and prevent that from happening to our children,” Post Falls Police Chief Scott Haug said.

Chief Haug could not comment specifically on this case, but said generally sex trafficking is a real and scary threat that all parents need to be aware of.

“So many times we see young people victimized and they had no idea,” he said.

Haug says more than ever, parents need to be vigilant.

"Just having that conversation with young people and making them aware of the risks that are out there, just like you would when someone is going out driving that you don't want them to text and drive,” Chief Haug said, “You don't want them on the phone, you got to follow the rules, same type of thing on the internet to make sure they're aware.”

Haug added parents need to familiarize themselves with what social media accounts their children have and educate them both on the good that’s out there, but also the bad.

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