ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police say a 7-year-old was the victim of human trafficking, and it was uncovered thanks to those at her school.
A man is accused of ‘prostituting’ his 7-year-old daughter, making her dress up in heels and makeup to perform sex acts on other people.
A teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary School saw something wrong and spoke up; but there are many questions that remain, as Albuquerque Police had multiple reports about the family over the past two years.
Last month the nurse at Lew Wallace Elementary reported to agents with the Attorney General’s office that a child at the school was possibly being trafficked.
She said a 7-year-old girl missed school a lot and often made strange comments like, “Mom and I hustle.”
The nurse then told the AG’s office that last November, the girl showed up to school dirty, and smelled of urine.
A teacher took her to the bathroom to change and found dried blood in her underwear, and believed she had been sexually assaulted.
The AG’s office says Albuquerque Police investigated after the underwear incident, but determined there was “nothing to cause concern of abuse.”
Shortly after that in November 2017, school staff remembered the girl getting dropped off in “high-heel shoes, press on nails, her hair done and she was wearing makeup.”
The girl’s father, James Stewart, has now been arrested for trafficking.
The little girl has been taken into CYFD custody and told investigators Stewart made her touch men and women under their clothes, and in exchange he got weed and pipes.
The little girl also said her mother would take her to secret parties, identified as “strip clubs” in a criminal complaint.
She says she was forced to dress up, in heels, and wear lots of makeup.
The mother, Teri Sanchez, is also under investigation but hasn’t been charged yet.
CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson says the school did everything they’ve been trained to do. She also says they are now going back to look into every interaction they had with the family.
KRQE News 13 also reached out to APD who had looked into reports of this family. A spokesperson says they are looking into their side of the investigation, all the reports and what happened.
According to the complaint, the mom would have the girl beg on the streets for money, and the dad would have the girl pick men’s pockets.