Today’s article will not be one that is typical for me to write about, but it is important. Late last night I was struck with the idea to write about this very real and scary problem our world faces. I hope you will take a few minutes to read and hopefully find it in your heart to take a part in helping to stop this.
Here’s what I would like for you to do: Look at your watch, a clock, pull out a kitchen timer or open the app on your phone. Now, I want you to sit in silence as you watch the seconds tick away for 2 minutes. I’ll wait…
Okay, did you do it? What’s the point of this exercise? Well, that’s how often the number two worldwide crime is committed. It isn’t just exclusive to third world countries. This crime is happening globally, including your town or one close to you without you even being aware of it. It is sex trafficking of children. Surprised? I sure was when I first learned it was happening right here within my nation’s borders. My state’s capital, Atlanta, is ranked as one of the top 14 US cities where this crime of enslavement is happening. I had no clue it was so close to home.
The average age is girls aged 14 years old, but children as young as 9 have been robbed of their childhood. It isn’t just girls affected. As much as 40% of children taken are boys. While addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2003, President Bush stated, “The victims of the sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life, and underground of brutality and lonely fear”.
Sex trafficking as defined by the U.S. Department of State, is the
“recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act”.
“Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after-school programs, at shopping malls and bus depots, in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students on school campuses.” – source http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/factsheet.html. It doesn’t just happen to run-aways or those sold by their own family. There are multiple ways these criminals capture children. It is so important for us to be aware of this number one growing problem and to educate ourselves and our children.
Here’s a sad fact: Most states allow minors to be charged with prostitution crimes despite statutory state laws that are supposed to protect those under the age of 18. Most children do not even consider themselves as victims. They are abused and brainwashed so much they begin to believe it is their choice and this is all they are worth. The traffickers alienate and condition these children to be their slaves.
A study reported by a non-profit anti-trafficking organization in Washington D.C, called Polaris Project reported that “a pimp who had three young women and girls in his “stable” were each were bringing back $500 every day.” That’s over $500,000.00 each year made off of three innocent lives. Two common examples of where these children are performing these acts is in stripping and pornography. They are not just walking on streets and hopping into cars or being dropped off at motels. They are being filmed committing sexual acts to be viewed by millions of viewers who aren’t even aware they are under-aged. They are dancing and stripping among other things in strip clubs.
I’m not here to scold or judge anyone that watches porn or goes to strip clubs, but I really hope this has opened blinded eyes to see this is a reality and those young girls are NOT always legal nor is it their choice. Please help spread awareness and let’s all work to stop this awful crime against these children. It may just be that your help saves the life of a would be victim you know. For more information and to learn ways you can help please visit:
ECPAT, or End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes
A global network dedicated to eliminating the commercial sexual exploitation of children.