A man in New Mexico is facing charges after he was accused of prostituting his young daughter.
According to KOAT, James Stewart is charged with human trafficking, criminal sexual contact of a minor, abuse of a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and promoting prostitution after school officials alerted authorities to several incidents that raised concern about the welfare of Stewart’s 7-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old brother.
In an incident last November, a teacher saw dried blood in the girl’s underwear when she took her to change clothes after the girl came to school disheveled and smelling of urine. The teacher reported the incident to the police and notified the Children, Youth and Families Department. According to court documents, Albuquerque Police spoke with the family at a nearby motel and said there was “Nothing that could cause concern of either of these children being abused in anyway by their parents.”
In another incident, the girl was dropped off at school wearing high heels and dressed in an “overtly sexually provocative and age-inappropriate” manner. The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office took the case when a nurse came forward about her concerns about the girl and her brother.
Court documents say the girl’s father prostituted the little girl and made both kids panhandle and steal. According to the criminal complaint, the girl told investigators her father forced her to touch the genitals of men and women she described as her “dad’s friends,” and her father would receive “weed and pipes and other stuff” in exchange.
The girl’s mother, Teri Sanchez, is also facing charges, including child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to KOAT, the girl told investigators her mother would force her to wear high heels, mascara and a dress and take her to “secret parties,” which were later discovered to be strip clubs.
New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas is angry that it took six months to help the young girl and her brother.
“There is absolutely just needs to be earlier interventions when it comes to protecting young children,” Balderas told KOAT. Balderas also said school officials likely saved the girl’s life by contacting authorities.
The Children, Youth and Families Department and Albuquerque Police have launched an internal review, and if any wrongdoing is discovered, they say the person responsible will be held accountable.