Many Americans have no idea just how bad the sex trafficking industry has become. As the title of this article indicates, it is a billion dollar industry. Many feel that it is more of an international issue rather than an issue that plagues the United States. However, the number of individuals forced into the sex trafficking industry right here in the United States is staggering. The more one researches these facts the worse the statistics turn out to be.
There are two types of sex trafficking, domestic trafficking in the United States and international trafficking. It is projected that each year more than 200,000 American children are lured into becoming sex slaves. The average age is between 12-14 years. They are enslaved into becoming prostitutes by false promises and/or by force. More than half of the children caught up in this industry are foster care kids. These are the children most at risk of becoming abused or neglected.
Typically, when foster children disappear, there is no one coming to their rescue. State statistics in 2012 reported that close to 5,000 foster care children could not be located. That’s an appalling number of “lost” children that no one can seem to find. Homeless children and runaways are also at risk.
Children are bought and sold in such places as truck stops, wealthy neighborhoods, motels, or just about any place imaginable. One of the most frequented and largest events in the United States for sex traffickers is the Super Bowl. Both adults and children are typically brought in for “purchase.” The Miami Super Bowl in 2010 reported 10,000 prostitutes that were brought in for the game. In fact, South Florida is the 3rd busiest sex trafficking location in the United States. Additionally, 133 underage prostitutes were arrested at the Super Bowl in Dallas in 2011.
Some claim that sex trafficking at Super Bowls is overstated. Even one incident of sex trafficking is too many in my opinion. While we are all sitting back enjoying the rivalry between two NFL teams, a young child, a teenager, or an adult is losing his or her freedom and perhaps even their very souls.
The numbers for international sex trafficking are lower than those in the United States. While these numbers may be lower they are nonetheless deplorable. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year from many parts of the world but primarily from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. These children may be either documented or undocumented migrant workers working in legitimate, family-owned businesses, brothels, massage parlors, or in private homes for example. These victims are dehumanized, forced to work, and then to perform sex acts against their well or risk punishment to themselves or their families.
In some instances, and at some events where sex traffickers attend, menus are printed up with the children’s faces next to their price and what sex act they will perform. In other instances, children may be raped 5 to 10 times per night. Children typically are also given numbers instead of being allowed to use their name or any name for that matter. On average, two children are sold every minute. It is estimated that approximately 27 million people may be enslaved by sex traffickers around the world.
So, what can be done? There is an organization that you may recently have heard mentioned on the Glenn Beck Radio program. The organization is called Operation Underground Railroad. They are a nonprofit organization that rescues enslaved children of the sex trafficking industry. Their website estimates that there are almost 2 million children currently being held against their will.
Teams of individuals working to rescue children for this organization consist of former CIA, FBI, Navy Seals, Green Berets who put their lives on the line to do what is right. Once the children have been rescued they proceed to bring the sex traffickers to justice.
Their mission statement reads as follows:
Using cutting-edge computer technology and human intelligence, we contract undercover teams of former CIA and Special Ops personnel to go into the darkest corners of the world to help local law enforcement liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks. All public donations go directly to our child rescue missions.
Please go there and see if you would like to donate to this worthy cause or find another organization that works to stop sex trafficking and contribute. We have an epidemic on our hands that needs to be eliminated. Saving even one child is a start toward ridding the earth of this evil industry.
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Susan Knowles is an author, psychotherapist and former practicing attorney. Her latest book, a political fiction, is entitled, “Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember” available on Amazon.com. Her website is www.susanknowles.com where this article may also be found.