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Sex traffickers and their customers could face serious jail time

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A young New Iberia woman was saved after being abducted and forced into sex trafficking. 

Her mother spoke exclusively to News 10 on Wednesday about the trauma her daughter has been through. “Emma” was rescued from a hotel in Metairie two weeks ago. She has been in the hospital since. 

Emma’s mother says her daughter was forced to have sex with strangers for more than 10 days by her captors. Emma is 18 years old and has a slight case of autism, her mother said.

“She hasn’t been very specific with details with me,” says her mother. “She was specific with the detectives, enough for them to make an arrest and book the lady for human trafficking. And they are still looking for the other.”

Dianna Viator, of Mamou, has been charged for trafficking the victim. Viator reportedly persuaded Emma into traveling with her family as a “nanny” and then forced her into prostitution.

 
“If there is human trafficking that involves commercial sexual activity coupled with someone who is under the age of 21, we are looking at 15 to 50 years. So that’s very significant,” says Kevin Stockstill a local attorney. 

In 2015, Congress strengthened federal anti-trafficking laws to provide prosecutors with more tools to go after sex buyers.

RELATED: Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men
So what could happen to the people who allegedly paid Viator to abuse the victim who we now know as “Emma”?

Stockstill says they could possibly face the same charges as the abductors. 

“We set it up with the caveat that you know that this person engaging in this activity is being basically held against their will,” says Stockstill. “I mean, if you know that going in, then you should be subjected to the more serious penalty.”

Emma’s mother says Emma was the only victim found at the time of her rescue.

Law enforcement is still looking for one male suspect. 

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