The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the first publishing of the Trafficking in Persons Report. Over 25 million children have been bought and sold into slavery, thus violating their civil liberties as a human being. Young girls and boys are subjected to sexual labor at an alarmingly increasing rate. In 2019 alone, the United States alone had 220 child trafficking cases according to the US Department of Justice. “
The idea of child trafficking is an underlying fear anyone with kids always has in the back of their head when they take their children out in public,” said Miranda Avolio (’24).
“In America, the sentence for a child sex offender involved in human trafficking is not enough time for the hell they put both the victims and parents through. Human trafficking is not only degrading physically, but mentally as well.”
Of these cases, child traffickers were prosecuted anywhere from a one-month sentence to a lifetime. The vast majority of sentences ranging in five years or longer; however, some traffickers were sentenced only to probation which sparked major controversy in both media and activist groups. It is estimated that 80 percent of all child trafficking violations have involved American citizens according to the Federal Bureau.
While child enslavement is not a new offence, it had recently gained large attention of mass media with the introduction of the Jeffery Epstein case. A case involving 36 girls ranging with the youngest of the victims being fourteen, Epstein subjected these young girls to various levels of sexual assault and rape.
While this case is one of the larger ones publicized, many young men and women across the United States are being subjected to sexual labor on a daily basis. These offenders range anywhere from wealthy businessmen to gas station employees. Yasmin Vafa, a worker for RIGHTS4GIRlS explained that their organization has cared for victims as young as ten years old within in the last three months according to a PBS News segment.
“I have a younger sister that is 10 years old,” said Abby Strait (’24). “As a protective older sister, I fear that I am not able to save her from child trafficking as it is an ever-growing problem within America.”
Nonprofit organizations have released a barrage of facts, and preventative measures young women can take in order to better protect themselves and others around them. Of which include, traveling in large groups, avoiding malls and other shopping centers after dark, carrying pepper spray and informing parents or legal guardians of their location at all times according to Help Save the Next Girl.
“I do not ever feel comfortable going to local malls and stores near me by myself because of the numerous reports of child trafficking that have been reported in my area,” said Avolio.
It is understood that 1 in 6 girls have experienced sexual assault before the age of twelve, according to RIGHTS4GIRLS.org.
“I protect myself when I go out by keeping my phone and keys in hand,” said Strait. “Checking surrounding and staying up to date with social media and other news channels in order to be aware of new tactic sex traffickers are using.”
Sex trafficking is a growing pandemic that effects young men and women across the globe. In order to keep yourself and others safe, you must stay up to date on new efforts made by sex traffickers. Some methods to know include honey or a sticky substance on your windshield, leaving notes claiming “damage” on vehicles and zip ties on your property and or vehicle.
For more information or to donate visit RIGHTS4GIRLS. Org, Change.org and Help Save the Next Girl.com.