- Read A Mother’ Story: What Parents Need To Know About Trafficking:
Today, around the world, and in the United States, child sex trafficking has become the fastest and most lucrative growing organized crime business. According to UNICEF, children from around the world, from US coast to US coast, and even right next door are kidnapped, recruited, transported, transferred, harbored, received, exploited and sold all to make money in the ever growing sex trade. Boys are exploited as much as girls and the average age to start in the trade is 12-14 years old. The majority of sex trafficked children started out as run-a-ways and found themselves in situations where they were abducted, coerced, threatened, physically, mentally and sexually abused and brain-washed into thinking that if they left then they or someone they loved would pay the price. According to The Covering House, within 48 hours after leaving home, 1/3 of run-a-ways will end up being lured into sex trafficking. According to a study out of John Jay University, most buyers are males between the ages of 25 and 55, however, women buyers make up about 12% of those who buy children for sex.
In the United States alone, every year, there are 100,000 documented cases of child sex trafficking, but according to the US State Department, that number could be as high as 300,000 annually. These are American children, not necessarily children who are transported and harbored from other countries. According to The Covering House, a pimp can make $100,000 – $200,000 per child per year and has an average of 4 to 6 children working for them at a time. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 20% of all child pornography sites involve children who have been forced into the sex trade. Advertising for child trafficking usually takes place on websites and some in specific newspapers that are just for those who want to buy a child for a few minutes. Some pimps and johns hang out on corners and pass out cards advertising their brothels and girls. This happens in broad daylight in some major cities. According to Some children are forced to have sex with between 25 and 50 buyers a night, with all of the money they make going straight to their pimps or johns. (See the ABC video below for more about child sex slaves in brothels in major cities.)
This and other facts has made me be more aware of my surroundings, especially when I’m driving at night. Just on Friday, I was on my way home from a nice dinner with a friend. I live in a very family-oriented neighborhood and you don’t see many people walking around at night. As I was driving home, I saw a young girl who was having a very difficult time walking in stiletto heals and a sexy sequenced dress on. The dress was sparkling from the glow of the streetlight. Next to her, holding her arm, seemingly dragging her along was a man, older than her. I wondered if this was a trafficking situation. I slowed, looked at them, and thought about stopping and asking her if she was okay. But, for my own safety, I called the police. I don’t know what ever happened, but at least I feel as if I did something. I was disheartened that there was a possibility that this could be happening in my back yard. I realized that not one of us is really immune to this epidemic.
- The following video is from ABC News and aired on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.
- Below are fact sheets that can be used from the Center of Missing and Exploited Children: