KYLE, Texas (KXAN) – A local mother has a warning for parents after her teenage daughter became a victim of sex trafficking. KXAN told you earlier this week about Nancy Cisneros and Bernell Quillens both facing charges of trafficking a child and compelling prostitution.
Even though the mother was living with her daughter, she says she had no idea that the abuse was happening. For the safety of everyone involved, we are not releasing the identities of both the victim or her mother.
The victim’s mother says it was a mistake by the men who were trafficking her that may have saved her daughter’s life. In the summer of 2015, her daughter was caught by Wal-Mart security for taking items from the store.
“They were putting merchandise in her hands and it was shown in the video,” said the victim’s mother. That was the day the woman began piecing together what was happening to her daughter.
“She just clammed up and was crying. I knew she wanted to say something but just would not. I thought she was just being defiant or difficult,” said the victim’s mother.
Within days, the woman discovered her daughter was a victim of sex trafficking up and down I-35 from Austin to San Marcos.
“The name the pimp gave her was Jasmine and it was used to put on Backpages for selling,” she said.
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Earlier this week, Nancy Cisneros was indicted on three counts of child trafficking and three counts of compelling prostitution. According to court documents Cisneros set the 16-year-old up with another man, Bernell Quillens who would bring the girl from hotel to hotel and force her to have sex.
“I’m telling you it’s like she was brainwashed.” The victim’s mother says she started to see her child change, but thought it was only teenage hormones.
“She was more defiant, talking back more, she didn’t want anything to do with me, didn’t want to talk to me,” she said. “Her grades were slipping. She loved band and choir but she no longer wanted to participate in those activities.”
The 16-year-old even began sneaking out, which is when her mom became more serious and installed a security system.
“She figured out with the help of someone else how to dismantle that security system, because it would go off even if the window is opened,” said the victim’s mother.
After the arrest in the Wal-Mart parking lot, the reasons behind her daughter’s behavior made more sense, and the story came to light. Since that day, the family has been working to heal. “My daughter, we don’t consider her a victim, we consider her a survivor, that empowers her to move forward.”
For the victim’s mother, sharing her story is part of that process and leaves a message for all parents. “Keep your kids engaged, whether it be in church activities, sports, music, theatrical, keep them busy and keep them focused on other things besides social media.”
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there are an estimated 35.8 million slaves worldwide. In the U.S. alone, as many as 300,000 children are at-risk to being commercially exploited in sex slavery each year.
If you suspect someone is being trafficked, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888) 373 – 7888.