The Danger that is Sex Trafficking
Commercial sexual exploitation is the second largest crime in the world1 — AND IN THE U.S.2 An estimated 16,000-24,000 individuals are entered into it on any given day in Chicagoland.
WHY? Because an entrepreneur can sell a drug or a gun once, but they can profit from trafficking a victim again and again and again.
Research has shown that prostitution, previously and widely viewed as a business of consent between adult individuals, has now become, in fact, a form of human slavery. Most often, victims are enslaved in “the life” due to desperate circumstances – most often beginning with a sexually abusive or violent home – and/or the victims have been tricked, coerced, or held against their will and violently forced into performing sexual acts live or on-screen. Our highly sexualized culture lures men, boys, and some women to fuel the demand side of this equation as situational, addictive, or sadistic users of these victims.
This modern day form of slavery, often called “sex trafficking”, most commonly preys upon vulnerable young people between the ages of 12 to 24 and is a multi-billion dollar business in the US. Entrepreneurs, including gang members, internet site providers, and, sadly, even “trusted” friends and relatives, have found a “product” that costs them little and can be sold over and over again. This crime, and the tragic deception underlying it, brings deep trauma and loss to all individuals involved – the victims, the users, and even the traffickers. All who are touched by this issue require justice, mercy, and compassion, along with practical help for healing and restoration. Due to the early age of entry and the extensive damage done to body, soul, and spirit, the victims often require a stable long-term residential program with comprehensive services that promote healing, teach life skills, and restore the life they were created to live.
WHERE does sex trafficking happen? All around you!
1. Internet: People seek out sex in venues such as massage parlors, escort services, street walkers but it’s the internet where most of the soliciting of and arranging for sex dates occur.
2. Pornography: Porn fuels child sexual abuse, compulsive sexual behavior, violence against women, commercial sexual exploitation.3 It has grown exponentially since the internet.4 Most children have been exposed to it by age 8-125 Most young adults (64%) watch it regularly5 Porn is used by traffickers to teach children how to have sex and to normalize sexual abuse.6 Pornography meets the legal definition of trafficking if the pornographer recruits, entices, or obtains women for the purpose of photographing live commercial sex acts.3
3. Childhood Sexual Abuse: The majority of trafficked persons7 and the traffickers8 have been sexually abused as children. Resulting in vulnerabilities and trauma that work themselves out in hurtful ways.
4. Increasingly Sexualized Culture: From high schoolers to celebrities, people are sexting, breaking down sexual taboos, leaving many vulnerable to blackmail and pressure to perform sexual acts in order to be accepted.
5. Desire to be Loved and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Urban, suburban and rural people often are lonely even though (and maybe because) they are on social media. Many are vulnerable to those who would manipulate those emotions to lure them into unhealthy relationships which can turn in to sex trafficking.
WHAT are the signs?
Check out the OnWatch™ survivor-led training video designed to empower you to spot, report, and prevent sex trafficking where you live, work, and play. Through true survivor experiences, industry experts explain the key indicators of trafficking, as well as how you can support a survivor’s path to freedom.
1 Jaclyn GallucciApr 14, 2019, Human Trafficking Is an Epidemic in the U.S. It’s Also Big Business. Fortune Magazine
2 Capt. Kathy Parker – Area Commander, The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Sep 28, 2018
3 .https://endsexualexploitation.org/wp-content/uploads/NCOSE_SymposiumBriefingBookl et_1-28-2.pdf
4 Corey Price, VP, Pornhub. Pornhub blog post, mobile web traffic has grown a staggering 1424% since 2010
5 Barna Group, The Porn Phenomenon: Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age, (Ventura, CA: Josh McDowell Ministry, 2016
6 Dr.Mary Anne Layden, http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/porns-part-in-sex-trafficking/#pS66V7QoPKORsx5R.99
7 89% of Sex Trafficking Victims were first sexually abused.www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g6GfEMf3W0, stoptraffickingus.org
8 Most Pimps Were Trafficked, Abused as Children by Amanda Kloer · September 20, 2010 according to research study from the DePaul College of Law by Researchers Brenda Myers-Powell and Jody Raphael