article-author
Myla Lampkin

Child Trafficking

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Sex Trafficking of Children….not in my backyard is what many have said before becoming educated or acknowledging that children under 18 years old both male and female are being kidnapped, coerced, trapped, misled, and or beaten into submission to sell their bodies for sex in exchange for getting their basic needs (shelter, food, clothes) met. Even the basic thriving need that all humans need “LOVE” and under the guise of a trafficker, or more commonly, known as a pimp.

“This is Modern Day Slavery”

Yes! Right here in the United States!!!

Let’s be clear this is not just something that is happening in an impoverished county. No! it’s happening down the street from you. Children and Adolescents all across the United States are being sex trafficked and this is a big business as prevalent, and surpassing, the sale of drugs and firearms.

Becoming familiar with what Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is and how to spot it is key to helping a child or adolescent. It could be the kid next door, the kid that sits in class next to your son or daughter, the child at the grocery store, on the airplane next to you, or even a family member.

CSEC is sexual activity involving a child in exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons. The child is treated as a commercial and sexual object. CSEC is a form of violence against children. (OJJDP (2010) CSEC Community Intervention Project)

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the most common age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12-14 years old. This growing problem can impact any child, family or community; however there appears to be a disproportionate number of youth in Dependency and Delinquency systems .The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reports that 3 of the nation’s 13 highest-intensity areas of child trafficking areas are located in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego metropolitan areas. This is a community issue with daunting numbers affecting our girls of color.

Teens are lured into this “life” through various pathways with the most common one being peer recruitment, running away from home, homelessness, social media, gang recruitment, chat rooms, and party lines.

Some of the common risk factors are sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, system involved youth (Probation/DCFS), runaway/homelessness, LGBTQ, unaddressed trauma, substance abuse, poverty, and the biggest

Risk Factor of all….

“Any child with a cell phone”. Traffickers know how to lure children through the use of social media. Remember a child can be exploited under any circumstances. I hope this article sheds some light on an epidemic that is literally taking our children away from us. Do your research, talk to others, talk to your kids, and spread the word. If you see something…. Say something! Call your local law enforcement agency or the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

We are stronger in numbers and a force to be reckoned with. Nothing and no one can stop an educated women.

Resources

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888
California Human Trafficking Legislation

https://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/legislation
Department of Mental Health: Transition Age Youth Website
https://dmh.lacounty.gov/our-services/transition-age-youth/csecy  

For Further Reading:
State of California, Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General (Human Trafficking):
https://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking

California Child Welfare Council Ending The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children Human
https://www.chhs.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Committees/California-Child-Welfare- Council/CSEC-Program-Convening/Ending-CSEC-A-Call-for-Multi-System_Collaboration-in- CA.pdf

Trafficking in America’s Schools
http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/human-trafficking-americas-schools

Polaris Project
https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/sex-trafficking

Shared Hope International
https://sharedhope.org/

GEMS
www.gems-girls.org

BOOKS

TITLE AUTHOR Girls Like Us Rachel Lloyd Anybody’s Daughter Pamela Samuel Young Runaway Girl Carissa Phelps Scars and Stilettos Harmony Dust