News 12 First at Five/ December 4, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga.--The holidays can be an expensive and even stressful time of year, especially if you have kids. But, one local mom learned the hard way, not everyone offering a helping hand is a good Samaritan.
Like a lot of kids, Jessica Norman's daughter, Janiah, has a big wish list this Christmas.
Janiah says, "I want a Baby Alive doll that wears Pampers, and I want a little baby set and a kitchen set, and I'm going to get a motorcycle."
But, that wish list can be expensive for a single mother who's been out of work for over a year.
Norman says, " I spend hours on the computer applying for jobs."
While the job search continues, Jessica has started looking for other options to make her daughter's Christmas special.
She says, "I saw an ad that said, 'Any single mothers need help for Christmas,' so I decided to reply to the ad."
She responded to the post on Craig's list saying she wasn't asking for a lot, and that she would be grateful for any help.
"So he asked how many kids I had and what all I needed, so I told him. Then he asked for a picture, which at first I didn't think was strange, but in a way I did, so I sent him a picture," she says.
The poster told her, "I'm sorry, but you are a little thick for my taste." That's when Jessica realized the Craigslist poster was probably looking for a little more than an opportunity to be a good Samaritan.
"It really hurts me because I'm doing everything I can. I don't like asking for help, so it really hurt me because I feel like I shouldn't have to sell my body to provide for my child," she says.
While Jessica did not fall into what could have been a sex trafficking trap, GBI Agent Charles Kicklighter says, they see this sort of thing on the internet all the time.
"If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is," Kicklighter warns.
Agent Kicklighter says sometimes pimps will target single moms and then move on to their children.
Kicklighter says, "These people could have other victims that they're doing the same thing to. They're grooming the parents to get access to their children."
Norman says, "I will say I am desperate, but I'm not desperate enough to do that, and I don't want any woman to feel their so desperate that they feel they have to do that to provide for their family."
Agent Kicklighter says, if you think something is suspicious when you respond to a post, report it to law enforcement.