When we think of human trafficking, we often associate it with other countries, certainly not here in America. Last night, on Primetime Live, this ugly phenomenon was exposed to millions of viewers. Who is targeted and why will surpprise you.
Many of the victims come from middle class homes. They are targeted because of their youth and naivete. According to F.B.I. estimates, over 100,000 children are victims of human trafficking in sex. They have a project specifically for apprehending the predators who are using our young girls as sex slaves- Project Lost Innocence. These young victims range in age from 9 years old to 19, the average being between 9 years old and 11.
“The FBI and its partners cannot restore the innocence lost from those children who are lured into childhood prostitution,” said Chris Swecker, assistant director for the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division. “These children are victimized twice: first by the handler who exploits them and secondly by the individual who solicits them.”
They are selected as skillfully as any predator chooses its prey, using online chats, direct physical surveillance, and information coerced from other victims. The initial meeting may appear innocuous, prefaced with a friendly compliment, leading to an offer of “employment”, usually modelling. Or it may be, as it was in one of the cases on the program, a snatch right in front of the victims home, with help just yards away.
Once “captured”, these young and innocent girls are subjected to imprisonment, starvation, gang rape, and offered for sale, often to as many as 50 john’s per day. They are kept compliant through drugs, torture and coercion, in the form of threats towards the family of the victim. There is nothing on this earth more potent than threatening the lives of loved one’s, for failure to comply.
Imagine being so physically degraded, and feeling not only the terrible shame and humiliation of being used like cattle, but carrying the additional burden of guilt, should your family be punished. The young victim would do anything to prevent this. Here is an excerpt of what a victim said about her ordeal:
“Debbie said that the pimps told her they would go after her family, and they even threatened to throw battery acid on her 19-month-old niece. After they told me that, I didn’t care what happened to me as long as my family stayed alive,” she said. “And that’s pretty much what I had in my head. Staying there to keep my family alive.”
Interestingly enough, many of the buyers of child sex are married men. Which speaks volumes about our society. Why is this happening is the real question. Profit on the predators side is the obvious answer. But for the “john’s” it becomes more problematic. Many of these so-called men have both wives and children of their own, yet will use these helpless children without apparently any conscience whatsoever. As with narcotics, this would not be a problem, if there weren’t an appetite for it.
An appetite created by the media in it’s various forms, depicting young models in provocative clothing. That coupled with the huge amount of porn-particularly child porn on the internet, creates a craving to progress from just looking, to becoming an active participant. And though this is in no way meant to blame the victims or their families, we are too permissive in what we allow our daughters to wear.
Young girls wearing thongs, bras and an open blouse aren’t just attracting fellow teens. They are also likely to come under the gaze of the ugliest of our criminals-the child predator. This isn’t just a criminal issue, but also a societal issue. How can we realistically expect law enforcement to help prevent these atrocious crimes against children, if we ourselves don’t take steps to protect them ourselves? It is our responsibility to have a talk with our daughters about this issue, and explain what can happen if they dress or act too provocatively in public.
We have a responsibility to say no to certain behaviors, and to insist on knowing where our children are and who they are with. If you know your child dreams of becoming a model, research legitimate ways to help her yourself, and educate her to phony scams that could lead to her enslavement or worse. Don’t allow your child to become a victim of these traffickers in human flesh. Once innocence is lost, it can never be regained. And these young victims will bear the scars of their degradation and shame all their lives.