By thinking child trafficking happens only in other countries . . . or in other cities in your country . . . or in other parts of your own city.
Wake up, America. Child trafficking is not just happening in other parts of the world. It is happening in your backyard and mine. That's why I'm on a quest to get my fellow Americans to believe that trafficking is happening right here in the US of A.
The more we ignore this, the easier it is for traffickers to operate right in our backyards. Right in YOUR backyards. Yes, I'm talking about you.
Why in the world would traffickers ignore your town? If you think it's just happening in "those" neighborhoods and "those" parts of your city, you are severely disillusioned.
And that's how you make traffickers so happy.
These are kids from all socio-economic groups, in cities all over the country.
Of the domestic minor sex trafficking survivors participating in Thorn’s national survey:
- 70% were sold online at some point in their trafficking situation.
- 75% had access to a cell phone while they were being trafficked.
- 71% had access to the Internet while they were being trafficked.
- An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States. (Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005)
- The average age of entry into the sex trade in America is 12-14 years old. (Source: The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009)
- In central Florida, where Born2Fly is based, a victim of human trafficked is rescued every other day. Yes, you read that right. There were 79 rescued in the first five months of 2014.
I recently learned about Thorn, who is a "digital defender of children." Thorn conducts a national survey of child sex trafficking survivors to give them a voice and ensure their experiences fuel program development. Here are some recent startling findings:
- Of the domestic minor sex trafficking survivors [that is, US citizens under 18] participating in Thorn’s national survey:
70% were sold online at some point in their trafficking situation.
75% had access to a cell phone while they were being trafficked.
71% had access to the Internet while they were being trafficked
- In 2009, police and law enforcement agencies discovered close to 22 million public IP addresses that were offering pornographic images of children through peer to peer file sharing
- Almost 10 million of the IP addresses that were involved in file sharing were located in the United States. (Source: www.justice.gov/psc/docs/natstrategyreport.pdf)
- Child pornography [which is a form of child trafficking] is a global issue, but the United States remains the largest producer and consumer of child abuse content in the world.
You can learn more at www.wearethorn.org/child-trafficking-statistics/#sthash.13l5dEHA.dpuf.
Meanwhile please don't make traffickers happy, okay? I don't want to commemorate this holiday ever again.