Last Thursday, that question was dropped in my spirit. When it did, my heart dropped. I couldn't help but think about all of the girls who are abused by family members, the judicial system, law enforcement, the entertainment industry, etc. I need to declare that this post is a trigger warning, so read with caution.
Christine Caine stated that the average age of a trafficking victim is 12 years old. 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. She defines human trafficking as this: Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking. As the world's fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe. Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern-day slavery.
There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.
Not only is this shocking, it sends a chill down my back.
In recent interviews with men who purchased a woman or child for sex in prostitution, Benjamin Nolot, of the The Exodus Cry Movement, found there wasn’t one who didn’t have a history of viewing pornography.
In a study that compared men who buy sex with who don’t buy sex researchers found that sex buyers viewed and imitated pornography more often than the non-sex buyers.
Eighty percent of prostitution survivors at the WHISPER Oral History Project reported that their customers showed them pornography to illustrate the kinds of sexual activities in which they wanted to engage. Fifty-two percent of the women stated that pornography played a significant role in teaching them what was expected of them as prostitutes.
I know this is heavy, but I ask that you near with me if you can. We have the power to change the world and rescue these girls.
The following is an excerpt from http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/10/06/971401/girls-human-trafficking-and-modern-slavery-in-america/
Malika Saada Saar, the executive director of Rights4Girls, a U.S. based human rights organization for young women and girls, has this to say.
On the 150th anniversary of when President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which set the date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved Americans, President Obama called for the end of modern day slavery. The president’s historical speech delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative, called for major policy changes, at home and abroad, to combat the enslavement of millions of women, men and children.
Many of the slaves today are girls. Born in America. Hidden in plain view.
They are the lost girls, standing around bus stops, hanging out by runaway youth shelters, or advertised online. At the Motel 8 or the Marriott, at McDonalds or the clubs.
According to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex. Forty percent of all human trafficking cases opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for the sexual trafficking of a child. And while the term trafficking may conjure images of desperate illegal immigrants being forced into prostitution by human smugglers, 83 percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country were American citizens.
The majority of these children being sold for sex are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. They are girls abducted or lured by traffickers and then routinely raped, beaten into submission, and sometimes even branded. When the girls try to run away, their traffickers torture and or gang rape them.
They are girls like Jackie who ran away from an abusive home at 13 only to be found alone and hungry by a trafficker who promised to love her like a father/boyfriend/Prince Charming. He sold her to at least six different men every night. When she begged him for food or rest, he beat her.
Young girls like Jackie are the new commodities that traffickers and gangs are selling. In many respects, the girl trade has replaced the drug trade. Drug routes have been repurposed to sell girls, along I-95, and up and down the I-5 corridor. The emergence of the Internet also allows the sale of a girl to be executed with ease, discretion, and convenience for the buyer. And unlike selling a drug, the girl is “reusable.”
The ugly truth is that it is less risky and more profitable to sell a girl than crack cocaine or meth. The U.S. government spends 300 times more money each year to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking. And the criminal penalties for drug trafficking are generally greater than the ones usually levied against those who traffic in girls. Traffickers, and especially the politely termed “Johns,” are rarely arrested and prosecuted. Which explains the growing demand for vey young girls— at the click of a mouse, a “John” can purchase a girl online on legitimate websites like Backpage.com, with minimal fear of punishment.
Many of these girls who are bought and sold for sex come out of a broken foster care system. “Of the trafficking victims in Alameda County, California, 55 percent were from foster youth group homes. In New York, 85 percent of trafficking victims had prior child welfare involvement. And in Florida, the head of the state’s trafficking task force estimates that 70 percent of victims are foster youth.
Unfortunately, most child welfare systems have failed to properly identify and assist trafficked and exploited children. The protections, services, and protocols established for abused and neglected children within the child welfare system are rarely extended to trafficked girls. Instead, the girls are relegated to the juvenile justice system, criminalized for being raped and trafficked. This must be the only time in which it is the abused child is the one who is incarcerated for the abuse perpetrated against her.
But that’s the problem—these girls are not considered victims. So while in the United States, we have the very same child sex slave markets as in Cambodia, the Philippines, and India, the girls from here, the girls from Southeast DC or South Central LA, are seen as the “ho,” the bad girl, the teen hooker.
Can I ask what's up with that? Why are we neglecting children? Why are the systems set in place supposing to protect children neglecting them before our very eyes?
Now, I can't do a blogpost without addressing the faith community. Many people pray and fast for our breakthrough, and that's fine. When I read Isaiah 58:6, it talks about fasting for the oppressed and that they be set free from the chains that's binding them (yes, that's my paraphrase - smile). I pose a few questions: do we care about the souls that are hurting? In the judicial system, does a jury verdict matter when a judge will overturn it allowing criminals to walk free?
I want to close this with a call to action. Yes, we need to cry for the little girl (and all children who suffer abuse), but action is needed.
Christine Caine said this: Human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.
She has an organization called A21. It's a non-profit organization and A21 believes that together, we can end human trafficking.
I encourage you to get involved by checking out her site!
I believe every child who has been abused will relate to this poem (this is from my novel Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid):
Who Will Cry?
Who will cry for the little child that lives inside Of Me?
Who will cry for the little child dying to be set free?
Who will cry for the little child wounded continuously?
I will cry for the little child, For that little child is Me!
The Mayne Man