Parents fear sex trafficking but NJ cops say runaway in no danger
JERSEY CITY — The parents of a 17-year-old girl missing since Jan. 6 fear she has become part of the sex trafficking trade, but authorities don't believe the runaway teen is in any immediate danger.
Tia Phillips' disappearance is not without controversy. Her mother, Raven Phillips, told NJ.com that the senior at Jersey City's Snyder High School was seen by a family friend forcibly being put into a car while she was crying and yelling "no."
The parents said their daughter fell in with the wrong crowd and started doing poorly in school after she came out as gay. The family told NJ.com that the teen had been coerced into making an unfounded allegation that she was molested by her father.
"Today has been a real exhausting day but we are going to keep the faith!" her father, Demane Phillips, posted on his Facebook page. "To all our family and friends and all the people that's praying for Tia thank you all from the Phillips family."
Jersey City police spokeswoman Ashley Manz said Wednesday that police and the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office are investigating Tia's disappearance and do not believe she is in danger.
"We are urging her to get in touch with her parents or JCPD," Manz said.
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