This blog came from the blog of the NYT bestselling author Francine Rivers. She and I share the passion to see sex trafficking abolished in our country. Her piece contains pertinent information that will raise awareness and help to prevent sex trafficking.
"Girls between the ages of 12 – 14 are primary targets for sex traffickers. Predators don’t come after them openly. They frequently use a girl or woman who can be more easily trusted. She will go into a mall and strike up a conversation with a girl, then begin an on-line friendship. Facebook is a primary tool because girls love to chat and give out personal information. A predator is after a child’s secrets and many are shared on-line. The predator has easy access to the pre-and-early teen girl’s inner thoughts, interests, schedule, friends, family problems, etc. Parents check now and then, but a predator is actively watching. They seek out girls who are from broken homes or in a crisis situation (a recent move, death in the family, argument with parents or siblings, rebelling against house rules, etc.) waiting for an opportunity to take the child captive.
When the predator sees an opportunity, the “friend” invites the girl somewhere. “I’m sorry your folks are on your case. Why don’t you come chill at my house for a while?” If the girl shows up, it may be the last time the family ever sees her. She will be "broken" immediately (raped and traumatized), moved out of the area within 24 hours, and put to work as a prostitute. Some of these children are forced to have sex with more than 10 men a day. This is BIG business for drug cartels and gangs who are actively searching for new girls (products) to stock their business. They do email blasts to customers (found through on-line porn sites) and bring a girl into an area for 24-48 hours. Appointments are made ahead of time.
The expected lifespan of a trafficked child is 6 years. They die of AIDS, hepatitis, botched abortions, abuse and sometimes murder. Those that are rescued often suffer PTSD that is equal to that of war veterans. Facilities to help rescued victims are few and far between, yet 1.7 million children go missing in the U.S.A. each year! How many of those are sex trafficked victims? A low estimate is 170,000. This is not just happening to girls. Twenty-thirty percent of the sex trafficked children are boys."
How is this possible?
- Naïve teens; limited experience, peer pressure, rejection of authority figures (parents)
- Uninformed parents
- 24/7 access to technology (Facebook; internet)
- Disarming recruitment methods (contacting children in malls)
- Predators on cyberspace
- Uninformed churches and civic organizations
- Uninformed police forces
- At risk families
- Organized crime ($32 BILLION industry worldwide; $8 BILLION in the U.S.A. – Sex Trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the country)
- Casual sex is the norm
- Gangs selling “territory” to cartels looking for new “product” for their customers
My Advice to Parents
- Educate your children. If they have “new friends” on Facebook whom you don’t know, find out who they are. Tell your children the truth about what is happening so they will not put themselves in danger and can warn their friends to be cautious as well.
- Purchase the DVD called The Love Trap Program: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Sex Trafficking. ($7.00) Consider giving copies to youth pastors, school principles, family and friends with children. www.millionkids.org