An eighth-grade reading teacher in Texas faces human trafficking charges after police allege she attempted to sell a young female relative to men in Morocco for sex.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Amber Michelle Parker, a 37-year-old teacher in the Mexia Independent School District, after she returned from a trip to Morocco on Jan. 1. Authorities allege Parker left for Morocco in mid-December to broker a deal to sell her relative as a sex slave that initially started out with negotiations online, KCEN reports.
“Family members got wind that Parker was going to try to lure this girl to Morocco,” McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told the Waco Tribune. “It is a dastardly story, and it is trafficking at its worst.”
The investigation, which involved officials from both the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and Freestone county Sheriff’s Office, revealed that Parker posted photos of the girl in lingerie, and with her breasts exposed, to solicit buyers over social media. Parker teaches reading at Mexia Junior High.
“She was online talking to multiple guys in Morocco trying to get it setup where she could take her with her over there to them,” Freestone Sheriff J. Shipley told KWTX.
McNamera said Parker promoted her relative as a virgin to maximize her asking price, which officials did not reveal.
“It’s a very low-down thing, it’s the worst of the worst when you prostitute your own relative, that’s as low as you get,” McNamara told KWTX. “It’s sickening to think a woman would stoop that low.”
Authorities told the media that Parker is also involved in witchcraft, though any connection to the case is unclear.
“While there may not be an immediate obvious connection to the human trafficking element, MCSO officials said Parker is alleged involved in Wicca, or pagan witchcraft, and haven’t ruled it out as they are still in the process of gathering evidence in the case,” KWTX reports.
Relatives told police they believe Parker’s initial plan was to lure the teen victim to Morocco on the recent trip to meet up with men to have sex, but then opted to take the trip alone.
McNamara told KWTX the girl’s father came from out of state to pick up his daughter while Parker was in Morocco and she’s now safe. Parker was arrested on a charge of human trafficking and booked into Freestone County Jail with a $25,000 bond.
Shipley credited a tip from the public for alerting police to Parker and cooperation between departments for building a case against her.
“We appreciate Sheriff Parnell McNamara and McLennan county Sheriff’s Office providing assistance to combat human trafficking in our area,” he said “Also, good work to FCSO Sgt. Martin and Deputies Gasaway, Graham, and Walker who were also instrumental in this investigation.”
Mexia ISD Superintendent Lyle DuBus issued a public statement Wednesday confirming Parker is now on administrative leave.
“Student safety is Mexia ISD’s No. 1 priority,” the statement read. “We take these allegations seriously and we will be working loosely with our partners in law enforcement. The district continues to monitor the situation and feels no students at Mexia Junior High were ever at risk.”