DENVER (CBS4) – A Motel 6 in the Denver metro area was one of many locations where a man trafficked a teenage girl over two years. The offender, Robert Gonzalez, forced a young girl into prostitution and is now behind bars.
Gonzalez’s case is one of many that a new team in the district attorney’s office for Jefferson and Gilpin counties aims to prevent from ever happening again.
District Attorney Peter Weir has strong words for anyone else looking to harm Colorado children.
“We will find you and you will be prosecuted and you will be put in prison,” he said.
It’s why his office has started a new human trafficking unit that will work to stop children from being exploited and punish those who are guilty of the offense.
“As much as we would like to think that this doesn’t happen here, it does,” said Weir.
The unit, which is the first of its kind in Colorado, uses a new approach of prevention and protection.
“Not only are we reaching out to those children who are at risk of being exploited, but who are already being exploited,” Deputy District Attorney Katie Kurtz said.
Kurtz will work full time with investigators in identifying at-risk children through a risk assessment and then establishing ways to protect them from predators.
“Most of what we see in our investigations are children who are born and raised in Jefferson County or born and raised in the Denver metro area,” she said.
She will also work with law enforcement on investigating crimes and prosecuting those like Gonzalez, who will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
“The goal ultimately is to end human trafficking in our community,” said Kurtz.
The human trafficking unit officially began operations a few weeks ago, and it already has several high profile cases.