BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Dr. Tiara King, a clinical psychologist and the president of the California Commission on Sexual Exploitation, joined 17 News at Sunrise for an interview following the airing of the shocking special report from 17’s Robert Price, on teenage sex workers in Bakersfield.

The report began with an unsolved hit-and-run, late one night on Union Avenue. A further look led to the discovery of girls as young as 13, being sold for sex in our own backyard. This discovery is indicative of a much larger problem, according to Dr. King.

“It’s very very common unfortunately,” Dr. King said during the morning interview. She underlined that the traumatic experiences that young girls may face make them increasingly susceptible to the grooming tactics of adult men.

Some of these tactics may include playing the “nice guy” and pretending to care, promising ways to make easy money, posing as a “photographer” offering a modeling job, a new boyfriend or a “sugar daddy” who buys expensive gifts, someone offering travel to other cities or a teen friend who wants to introduce you to someone.

The heartbreaking stories of these young lives severely altered, or in the case of two young girls, cut short, leave many wondering “how does this even happen?” How does a 13 year-old girl wind up offering herself as a prostitute?

Dr. King spoke further about the root causes, as well as factors that make teens more vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking.

For the full interview, watch the video in the player.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, call 911 or text 233733.

If you would like to help fight against human trafficking or learn more about resources available, call or text:

Child Abuse Hotline: (661) 631-6011

National Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888

Global Family Care Network / The Daughter Project: (661) 213-3380

Magdalene Hope: (661)808-HOPE