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A story out of Fort Myers, Fla. in which a 15-year-old girl had sex with boy after boy in a school bathroom caught the nation’s attention for obvious reasons, but now the girl’s mother has revealed through a spokeswoman that the girl was a victim of human trafficking.

Megan Estrem, founder of an advocacy group for victims of human trafficking called “Be the Light,” spoke to WBBH on behalf of the girl’s mother.

“I had heard a lot about the incident through the news. I heard it and thought there are some red flags,” Estrem said. “What’s upsetting about this is this behavior is not uncommon for human trafficking victims.”

Estrem revealed that the girl was trafficked when she was 13, was placed in multiple treatment programs for months at a time and had only been going to South Fort Myers High School for two weeks until the sex incident happened.

The mother said it started when her daughter went to the bathroom to talk to a teen she had a crush on. That boy, she says, wanted sex and the girl agreed. Then others joined in and still others joined in to spectate. This is how the number grew to an alleged 25 sexual partners.

Estrem said the girl “did not sleep with 25 boys in the bathroom. There was only a handful that she did sleep with. In this case, it was more of a spectator sport.”

“She was not equipped to make a stable, rational decision in that situation,” she added.

“She has been in an environment where she has been told to behave a certain way, and there were severe consequences if she didn’t,” said Estrem. “She needs to be prayed for and encouraged, not degraded and discouraged.”

16 students have been disciplined for what happened that day.

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