This is the first of 10 columns in the EXPLOITED series, which explores the cultural and economic forces that contribute to commercial sexual exploitation.
On the day she met Marcus Thompson, the girl later told the FBI, she had been ready to leap from a bridge to end her life.
She was only 15, pregnant and alone on the streets.
And in this wounded child, Thompson saw a means to make money. He promised that if she left her small Illinois town with him, he would make her a model. Grasping for hope, she climbed into his truck.
But the promise was a lie.
To read more, go to the USA Today article posted here: