COMPTON (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of residents, along with community leaders, gathered in Compton Thursday night to march against sex trafficking.
The 1.6-mile rally began at Palmer Avenue in Compton and ended at Carlin Street in Lynwood—a route used by customers and pimps in the buying and selling of children.
D’Lita Miller told KCAL9’s Melanie Woodrow that she was sold into the sex trade at 15.
“It wasn’t easy, many tears, many sleepless nights,” she said.
Miller is now an advocate against human trafficking.
“This is my passion, my heart, I understand these girls. I know where they come from,” she said. “I’ve walked this path, and look at me now. I like to say that I was a victim, then I became a survivor and now I’m a leader. That’s the path I’m walking in.”
The march was also in support of stronger penalties against pimps and sex-traffic customers, something Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Compton Mayor Aja Brown said they support.
“According to our laws, you get less jail time for selling women than for selling drugs,” Brown said.
Noted Baca: “These young girls are victims, and so our strategy is not to put them in a prosecutorial place, but to save them from those who should be prosecuted.”
The FBI estimates that as many as 3,000 children are trafficked in Los Angeles.