What You Need to Know About Child Trafficking in the U.S. and How to Become Involved in Putting it to a Stop
Maxwell Realty is deeply passionate about the welfare of our communities and its inhabitants. The current rise of child trafficking, globally and throughout the United States, compels us to spread awareness and to educate others. As a community, we can make an impact by detecting, avoiding, and incriminating child predators; knowledge is power.
What is Child Sex Trafficking?
According to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, child sex trafficking is “The act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, [or] soliciting a child for a commercial sex act, including prostitution and the production of child pornography”.
Juvenile sex trafficking may be paired with other forms of duties, which can be labor and criminal activities, including the transport of narcotics.
What Are the Current Statistics?
•4 million sex trafficking victims are reported globally, daily. 27 percent of this estimate reflects children, worldwide.
•The most prevalent human trafficking victims are U.S. citizens under the age of 18 years old for sex trafficking. 46 children per day go missing in the U.S.
•More than 300,000 underage girls are being sold for sex in America.
•Marisol Nichol’s Foundation for a Slavery Free World estimates 40 million victims (about twice the population of New York) of modern slavery worldwide; her partnership with Operation Underground Railroad focuses on ending child trafficking and sexual exploitation.
•The trafficking industry is currently at its largest, with an approximated $150 billion (about $460 per person in the US) market value (according to the International Labour Organization report).
•During the Covid pandemic, online trafficking efforts increased significantly — by 125% on Facebook and 95% on Instagram, to name a few. According to Pew Research, there are approximately 500,000 online predators daily, and over 100,000 online sites offer child pornography.
•Federal Human Trafficking Reports from 2021 report 57% of all survivors in human trafficking cases were minors. 92% of the cases that were brought to court were due to sex trafficking.
The global effort need for resolution is real. Although many countries outside of the United States are the ringleaders generating and hosting child sex trafficking, the United States is the highest producer and consumer of child porn. We need to identify these consumers who infiltrate these markets and make these heinous crimes persist into million-dollar industries.
Who is Most Susceptible to Becoming a Victim, and Why?
Unfortunately, anyone can fall victim; however, the most susceptible are those with minimal amounts of social and legal protection. Traffickers are well versed with child vulnerabilities, and with how to appear as the answer to a void that may be present in their victims.
Commercial Sexually Exploited Children’s Unit at Sandy Springs Police Department, Atlanta Georgia state risk factors to consider, taken within context (not every sign is cause for concern):
•The child’s communication patterns and physical appearance changes. Suddenly overly sexualized of new unexplained appearances.
•The child will not allow parental access to his or her technology. May self-isolate, only communicate and socialize online.
•Trafficking happens quickly: 8 days average after meeting online, perpetrator meets child, identifies vulnerabilities, assesses situation.
•The child has a second cell phone and/or multiple social media accounts on each network of choice. Not giving parental access may heighten this, as well.
•Trafficker isolates the child from their friends and family. This can be privatizing communication, tests to begin to initiate an allegiance may be initiated here (known as the ”grooming phase”).
•Child exhibits chronic runaway behavior, has an unstable home and/or is susceptible to becoming a homeless youth. Parents repeatedly kick child out of the home or neglect the child.
•The child has a new boyfriend, especially an older one who is being hidden from the family. New friend group or controlling romantic relationship (Entrapment phase).
•Other factors that have shown to be present: a history of sexual abuse, witnessing or experiencing physical abuse, weakened family ties, mental health and/or substance abuse issues, malnourishment, recent migration/relocation, living in a foster home, or having a juvenile detention history.
What Are the Profiles of People Who Participate in Child Sexual Trafficking?
Unfortunately, perpetrators can come as foreigners, U.S. citizens, family, partners, friends, or as a stranger. The trafficking can involve many participants: recruiters, intermediaries, transporters, document providers, corrupt officials, and even employers, or neighbors:
•R. Kelly, an award-winning R&B artist, was convicted on 8 counts for violating the Mann Act (the first international law prohibiting human trafficking). He faced accusations of young people and children for two decades until his conviction in 2021.
•American financier Jeffrey Epstein was accused of running a network for underage girls for sex for himself and others; he was arrested in 2019 and committed suicide in his jail cell, soon after. His partner, Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in 2021 for being an accomplice.
•Former U.S. Olympic gymnastics coach John Geddert, and convicted serial child physician molester Larry Nassar worked together in their trafficking efforts. Geddert was charged with 20 counts of trafficking, and 2 of which were identified as being between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.
•March 2022, four Disney Employees were found amongst 108 arrested in child trafficking, child predator sting.
•May 2022, 70 missing children, sex trafficking victims included, were found in El Paso, Texas by Homeland Security and Customs Enforcement’s joint effort: “Operation Lost Souls.” Hotlines emphasize the increase of missing children since the onset of the pandemic, especially in this regional area.
What Tactics Can Be Used to Overcome Child Trafficking?
•Build and nurture healthy relationships with children.
•Talk to children early about sexuality and about having healthy relationships
•Be extremely strict and validate online safety. Do not indicate where your children reside or what school you attended on your social media (and, likewise, theirs should reflect the same). Beware that online video games like Roblox include chats that make children vulnerable to online predators. Restrict content and game limits to ensure protection.
What Laws Are Being Enacted?
- The National Action Plan is a 3-year government approach to combat child trafficking, “including actions to strengthen prosecution of traffickers, enhance victim protections, and prevent crimes from occurring within our borders and abroad.”
- Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
- Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act
Which Organizations Are at the Forefront of Rescuing Victims of Child Sex Trafficking?
• Operation Underground Railroad, also known as O.U.R., led by former CIA agent Tom Ballard and current and past law enforcement, conducts high-profile covert operations coordinated with law enforcement globally, and provides aftercare for survivor needs. O.U.R. has successfully convicted over 4,000 predators and rescued over 6,000 survivors.
•Destiny Rescue has rescued over 9,000 children and provides a trauma- rehabilitation program in aftercare. Assistance to reintegrate into their community and to have an action plan is paramount.
•Child Rescue Coalition (CRC) has protected innocence through technology on 3,236 accounts; rescued 14,070 children; arrested 97 predators and prevented more than 700,000 cases of abuse worldwide.
How You Can Join the Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking
• Join O.U.R.’s Conductor Club: start a fundraiser, donate time, offer food, supplies, assistance with employment and survivor after care, host an event, get educated, become a speaker, or join students against trafficking. Visit www.ourrescue.org for details.
•Join O.U.R.’s Abolitionist Club, currently consisting of 27,000 worldwide members, and make monthly donations to support human trafficking efforts. Visit www.ourrescue.org for details.
•Join Destiny Rescue’s efforts and fund a rescue, donate time, or get involved by visiting www.destinyrescue.org or calling 260-444-2407.
•Join the CRC’s efforts by donating or educate yourself with highly informative resources at www.childrescuecoaltion.org.
•Public health professionals can register for training with the Office On Trafficking In Persons’ National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center at 844-648-8822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
•Use your voice to ask local representatives about how they are addressing human trafficking and inform them of your community needs
Where Can You Report Child Trafficking?
Report a tip — you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline if you have any concerns about a potential trafficking situation at 1-888-373-7888, text HELP to BEFREE (233733), or email email@example.com.
We, here, at Maxwell Realty want to use our voices to assist in educating and exposing these unfortunate truths that our precious youth are vulnerable to. Knowledge is power. Urge your local representatives to tell Congress to protect our children; mentor at-risk youth in your community; purchase fair-trade products when possible; volunteer your time in aftercare efforts; contribute to organizations like O.U.R., Destiny Rescue, and CRC. Every effort, small or large, make our communities safer places for our children to exercise their right to thrive. Please take note of the resources we have provided, and these tremendous organizations that are making our children’s worlds a safer place every day.