Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. (UNODC)
Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery. Estimates place the number of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money.1 The terms human trafficking and sex slavery usually conjure up images of young girls beaten and abused in faraway places, like Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa. Actually, human sex trafficking and sex slavery happen locally in cities and towns, both large and small, throughout the United States, right in citizens’ backyards. (FBI Website)
Thousands of boys, girls, women and men are being sold for sex through the internet daily. Massage parlors, casinos, escort agencies, strip clubs are all havens for sex trafficking. Large venues, sporting and political events drawl traffickers. Why? Because where there are people, there is a demand; and where there is demand, there will be a supply.
U.S. Sex Trafficking Facts
It is estimated that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 child victims of human trafficking in the U.S. alone (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
2.8 million children live on the streets (Shared Hope International)
Within the first 48 hours of being on the street, 1 in 3 children are lured into commercial sexual exploitation
75% of minors engaged in prostitution have a pimp (Shared Hope International). By law this makes them victims of human trafficking.
Pimps can earn up to $632,000 per year by selling 4 women or children (Shared Hope International)
It is estimated that there are 100 beds available int he U.S. for sex trafficking victims (Shared Hope International)
Average age of entry into sex trafficking for girls and boys ranges from 11-14 years old (Nat’l Center for Missing & Exploited Children)
The vast majority of the trafficked and prostituted children in the U.S. are either runaway’s or abandoned children. Common themes found among survivors of child prostitution that lead them into that situation are : sexual abuses as a child, parental neglect, parental drug use, emotional/ physical abuse from a family member and poverty. (Love 146) However, the internet has leveled the playing field for potential victims.
1 http://www.routledgesociology.com/books/Human-Sex-Trafficking-isbn9780415576789 (accessed July 19, 2010).