Jump directly to the content
Trafficking the Girl Next Door

Trafficking the Girl Next Door

Katariina Rosenblatt knows what it is to be caught in the world of sexual exploitation. Now she works with the FBI and local authorities to minister to other girls who find themselves in the same place.
Average Rating:

During the 1980s, mothers used the phrase "stranger danger" to caution their children about the possibility of kidnappings. It was the idea of seeing your missing child's photo on the side of a milk carton that caused many U.S. families to warn their kids about abductions. The possibility of human trafficking wasn't even on most parents' radar screen.

Yet during the same time period, a 13-year-old Miami girl became one of the countless children to fall prey to a sex trafficking scheme. Only in recent years have U.S. officials realized the trend is just as alarming at home as it is abroad. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking ranks second only to drug trafficking as the fastest growing criminal industry worldwide. And half of those trafficked are children.

In 1985, Katariina Rosenblatt, her teenage brother, and their mother left their South Florida home to escape Kat's abusive father. Katariina's mother was trying to hold down a job while caring for her children. The family lived out of a Miami Beach hotel, where the kids spent most days unsupervised at the swimming pool. There, Katariina was approached by Mary, a sophisticated 19-year-old who took an interest in the young teen. "She was everything I thought I wanted to be," Katariina says. "Thin, pretty, blond hair, and blue eyes."

The sexual, verbal, and physical abuse Katariina had endured from her father left her damaged and vulnerable, a weakness Mary quickly sensed. Offering her friendship and sisterly advice, Mary began telling Katariina about local men who would take care of her, give her money for food, and offer fatherly love. In reality, Mary was a recruiter for a local child trafficking ring.

"The devil doesn't come with a pitchfork," Katariina says. "He's much more deceptive. For me, he came in the form of a girl in a red bikini."

Led by Mary, Katariina soon found herself sequestered in a room with a 65-year-old man who attempted to purchase her, still a virgin, for $550. Refusing the marijuana she was offered, Katariina narrowly escaped the exchange and fled back to her hotel room. It was the first in a series of trafficking scenarios she would face as a young teen, and the only one she would manage to escape unscathed.

God's Whispers

In the following years Katariina became ensnared in a series of trafficking exchanges, all unbeknownst to her mother. In one instance, she went to a sleepover at a friend's whose father was a pedophile and worked as a trafficker. Katariina was taken to an apartment-style brothel in a neighboring county and exploited by a 40-year-old man who fostered her cocaine addiction and began making her dependent on him and the future men who would exploit her in exchange for drugs, food, and temporary affection.

No First PageNo Previous PagePage 1 of 5Next PageLast Page

Corrie Cutrer

Subscribe to TCW at this link, and sign up for our free e-newsletter to become part of a community of women striving to love God and live fearlessly in the grit of everyday life.
From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2012, September/October
Posted September 10, 2012

also in this issue

September/October Issue
3 World-Changer Things You Can Do Before Breakfast

3 World-Changer Things You Can Do Before Breakfast

Sure, you're just trying to keep your sanity in the mornings, but in the meantime you can also attain superhero status!
3 World-Changer Things You Can Do Before Breakfast

3 World-Changer Things You Can Do Before Breakfast

Sure, you're just trying to keep your sanity in the mornings, but in the meantime you can also attain superhero status!
God's Neighborhood Plan

God's Neighborhood Plan

Our street was changing. Was I powerless to do anything about it?

TCW Talks with . . . Angela Thomas

A Q&A with about genuine joy

ratings & comments

Average User Rating:

Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments

Carolyn Custis James

September 23, 2012  8:55am

I just had breakfast w/Kat in the Colorado Springs airport following the Freedom Climb Conference. Amazing to hear her story & learn more about this crisis, her ministry, and the beautiful lives being restored. Her article is armchair much needed wake-up call for all of us!!

Report Abuse

barbara amaya

September 16, 2012  11:34am

I too was first approached by a woman who took me in gave me food and shelter when I was a run away. Then she took me out and trafficked me on the streets of D.C. before selling me to another trafficker from New York. So sad that it was another woman who trafficked you and me.

Report Abuse


September 13, 2012  11:38pm

Bravo for helping those that need it so much. Kat is a great lady of God and lives by His Word. I am happy to have her as a friend!!!!

Report Abuse

Rate and comment on this article: *



1000 character limit

* Comments may be edited for tone and clarity.

More For Women
Gifted for Leadership

gifted for leadership

The Leadership Journal blog inspires and connects women leaders in church ministry
Her Meneutics


The Christianity Today  women's site provides news and analysis for evangelical women