Case Study #6Serena’s Story


Age, gender, demographics (ethnicity, sexual identity), living situation

  • 13 year old, Hispanic female.

How victim was recruited/trafficking:

Serena met her “boyfriend” at the local park where she would hang out at after school with her friends. They were in middle school and were flattered that these older guys wanted to hang out with them.


Serena had discipline issues at middle school from day one. She was always late, falling asleep, or on the phone. When teachers or administrators spoke to her about these issues she was rude and disrespectful. She was new to the school so intervention staff contacted her feeder school and what they were told about Serena was very different than what they had experienced. The feeder school reported that she was quiet and had never missed a day.

A parent meeting was called. Serena’s mother was at her wits end. She reported that cabs would come to get Serena at home at 12:00 am. Serena would leave and come home in later in the morning. When asked where she went, Serena said she was with her boyfriend. Serena stated that the taxi was paid for and she never knew exactly where it brought her. She didn’t know how old her new boyfriend was or what his last name was, but said that she always got money at the end of the night so she wouldn’t have to worry about things.


Serena ran away with her “boyfriend”. Her family did not know his name or anyway to reach him. She dropped out of school and we have not heard from her since.

Discussion for Case Studies:

  1. What were some of the victim’s vulnerabilities?
  2. How did the sex trafficker exploit those vulnerabilities?
  3. What changes happened in the victim’s life?
  4. Who in the victim’s life should have noticed these changes? What could they have done?
  5. What were the missed opportunities to prevent this victim’s sex trafficking experiences?
  6. If there is no resolution: how many different ways could this story end?
  7. How could this victim’s peers have noticed these changes? Who could they have told?
  8. If this student came to your school, how can the students support them?
  9. If this student came to your school, how can the staff support them?
  10. How can you as a class, help develop awareness about sex trafficking and prevent more victimization?