ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Pimps are actively recruiting suburban High School students and they’re pulling in the girls right now. If your daughter is on Facebook, she may be friends with these pimps, but she won’t know them as pimps. They’re just guys who send messages saying ‘You’re Beautiful.’ They claim to know about the best parties where young high school girls are showered with piles of cash and unlimited alcohol. The girls don’t find out until later, that the suppliers may be planning to force them into sexual slavery.
Mother Shannon Tanner said, “If you think it can’t happen to you or your family, you’re wrong.”
An unidentified Mom said, “All parents say not my kid, my kid wouldn’t do that. Well guess what, they do.”
These are two middle class moms who’ve had every important conversation with their kids. They say the pull from men wanting to force girls into the suburban St. Louis sex trade is too strong.
The unidentified Mom said, “It’s why they’re targeting kids. Kids are easier to coerce into things.”
This woman says her 16-year-old daughter was ‘taken’.
She explained that it was “fast. One night. Going to one party.”
She says it was a bash in the suburbs with lots of alcohol and rappers with tons of cash.
She added that “they were told this group was going to make it big. They were going to have videos out where these girls would be in the videos and all that stuff is glamorous to 16, 17 year old girls.”
The young men could prove they had the cash. They even post piles of it on their facebook pages. it made the lies believable.
The Mom remembered some of the lies, such as “they’re taking pictures for modeling. Some of these pictures go to football players because they’ll pay up to $600 for a couple hours just for a date.”
Tanner remembers trying to rescue her daughter, even though Mom didn’t know the magnitude of her daughter’s problems. Her daughter, Tiffany Piper was older, 19 at the time. She’d left Timberland High School, got her G.E.D. and wouldn’t listen to mom.
Shannon Tanner said, “She was telling me she was involved with some rap groups and traveling from town to town to promote their group and that she had an opportunity to have a photo shoot with some men she met doing this and she was very excited about it.”
Then Tanner found the pictures, along with horrible graphic descriptions of a human body for sale. Weeks later, police told her that her daughter Tiffany was selling the daughter of the unidentified woman in this report. Prosecutors accuse Tiffany Piper and her boyfriend Demond Day of trafficking children for sex.
Tanner cried, “I’ve tried to keep my children safe and protect them and it doesn’t feel like anything I’ve done has helped.”
Tanner almost didn’t do this interview. She explained, “I didn’t want the public to think I was a terrible mother or didn’t raise my children with values or take good care of my children, because it’s not true. I did.”
She found the courage to talk because she fears the pressures facing young girls to sell their bodies. What makes it even harder for her for to talk — she’s the same woman in the news years ago because of another daughter. She’s Bianca Piper’s Mom. Bianca Piper disappeared while walking in Foley, MO in 2005. She was 13. She hasn’t been seen since.
Tanner said, “I thought it was always a possibility that Bianca could be involved in some kind of underground sex trafficking of some sort. just because it happens to a lot of young girls that are abducted. And when I started having gut feelings that that’s the kind of lifestyle that Tiffany was involved in, but I couldn’t prove it yet, that was the only thing that I could think of, because you try to pull a little good out of everything no matter how terrible it is, that was the one thing I could think of that made it even remotely OK, is that it might put her in a position where she could run across Bianca somehow or another.”
Though she knows where Tiffany is, she can’t reach her either. As the unidentified Mom explains, her high school aged daughter was captive, even though it appeared she was free to leave. Mom explained, “There were threats made to her, I believe involving me. She felt she was going to be guilty if something happens to me.”
Dig deeper into the Facebook postings by the men behind young girls and you’ll see the intimidation. The men are flashing every gun imaginable, even in public places writing threats like this one – ‘Takin it to the Death.’
Now that her daughter is rescued, she knows “they had her cell phone. Sometimes I would get responses and text messages that I would think ‘I don’t think that’s her’, because if she would tell me she loved me, she would say it a certain way.”
She also saw signs her daughter was heavily drugged. It took a call to the right police officer, who arranged a sting at a motel off I-70 in St. Peters. They rescued her daughter and another 17-year-old. They’re back in High School in Toy, while more girls are trafficked than ever.
Our investigation is ongoing and it continues in the coming weeks. We’ll talk tell you more about the specific lures set out for these high school girls and how it turns so quickly to sex ads on internet sites like Backpage.com. We’ll also tell you what one woman is doing about it.
Please also remember the search for Bianca Piper continues. We’ve put together this in depth internet feature. Listen to Shannon Tanner discuss the possible ties between sex trafficking and her missing daughter.
Join Chris on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV
Web EXTRA: Raw interview with Shannon Tanner
Shannon Tanner emotionally describes starting a new life after her daughter Bianca Piper disappeared. Years passed and she didn’t want to leave the Foley home where she last lived with Bianca, but she decided to find a new place to help her daughter, Tiffany. “She was having a hard time. She was stumbling and so my hope and dream (and I thought it was hers as well) let’s get this apartment together. And when you get out of school and get a job you can sustain paying the bills here. I’ll move out and you can have a home to raise your child in. And when I left it, it was just like I was leaving a house full of broken hopes and dreams. And it just really hurt to know how much hope we put into that home and it just all disintegrated. And it’s hard to understand how you can try to make good things happen and you just don’t. It just all falls apart.”
Shannon Tanner talks about her gut feeling that her daughter, Bianca is still alive. “I felt like Bianca is out there somewhere. I do feel like she’s still alive. One of my worst fears was that she’s still in this general area somewhere – to be this close to me and I can’t find her. I don’t feel like she’s gone.”
Shannon Tanner looks back at trying to get her daughter Tiffany on the road to success. “Tiffany and I got that [apartment] after her daughter was born. And the whole reason for us getting that apartment together (it was a 2 bedroom apartment) I was trying to help her become a mother who could take care of her child and have a place to take care of her child.”
Shannon Tanner describes moving from one shattered dream to another. She talks her dream in Foley, that included Bianca and then moving away from the apartment she thought would help Tiffany. “I mean that was why I think it was so hard to move from that apartment. I mean it was easy to move from it, but it was hard as I drove away from it. And I thought about it because I had just moved from the house, where I lived when Bianca disappeared and it was a big house with a big yard and Bianca loved nature. And we moved there thinking all my kids would have their own bedroom and we would have this beautiful property and creek and I wanted to explore nature with Bianca and possibly get her a couple horses. And within a couple months moving there Bianca disappeared. And so once again, it was another house we had hopes and dreams for moving in. And it just all fell apart.”
The Michael Devlin abduction case reminds Shannon Tanner about the horrible possibilities. She often thinks about surfing the web for sexual images of Bianca. “It’s hard to do. It’s hard to think about doing. There’s been many times because you hear about all the child porn ads. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to go to a computer and start looking on those, and I mean, to try to find my daughter. But I could never bring myself to do it. And I know there’s law enforcement agents that do that kind of a thing. It’s just too scary for me to do that. Because you want to know, but you don’t want to know all at the same time.”