Who Are the Children Trafficked For Sex?

As the sun sets across the United States tonight, thousands of children are rising to meet the night.

They should be in safe homes, in warm beds, being tucked beneath blankets and told bedtime stories.

Instead they slip into the nocturnal world, dressed for the work of the “track”.

All over the United States, these children are being exploited. In Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle, Anchorage, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Denver — in every major city, in the small towns, at truck stops in every State of the Union, they’re being put to “work.”

People say it’s their fault, but I don’t think so anymore.

People call them “bad kids,” but I don’t think so anymore.

People say they like it, some say they deserve it. I don’t think so.

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that each year at least 300,000 children are the human porducts meeting the demand of the sex trafficking industry in the U.S. alone. Around the world, more than one million children are subjected to human trafficking for sex or porn. The industry is estimated to bring in $9.5 billion annually.

The statistics are staggering, but it’s the individual stories that are heartbreaking. These are girls as young as 11. Girls who haven’t reached puberty. Children who should be in fifth grade. Many have never attended a school dance. Never learned how to use a locker. Never pondered a class schedule.

Their skin is of every color. Some come from “good homes” and have families searching desperately for them. Others are runaways, or children in foster care, who have already been victimized and traumatized within the walls of their homes — and have no one searching for them.

These children had dreams. Some could sing, others danced and put on plays. Some were great at sports or loved to draw and paint. Some girls were shy, in advanced classes, and liked to read at night.

Now they are called ladies of the night, lot lizards, bitches, whores, sluts, hookers, and hos.

This is America. The land of opportunity. The land of the free, home of the brave. The country of Abraham Lincoln.

Freedom, not slavery, has been abolished for these thousands upon thousands of children…children who are legal citizens of the greatest nation on earth.

They are America’s children. They’re our neighbors. They’re our children’s classmates. They’re in our very homes.

They are our children.

We must save them.

- Linda Smith, Founder of Shared Hope International in her book, Renting Lacy: A Story of America’s Prostituted Children, A Call to Action

Story from a Small Southern Town

Let me tell you a story. I come from a small, southern town in SW Missouri near the Arkansas line. El Dorado Springs is the most perfect, idyllic, closest-thing-to-Mayberry you can possibly imagine. With a total population of 3,000 I can attest to the fact that I had a story-book childhood.

About 6 months ago my mother told me that the towns PostMaster, along with 3 other men had been indicted on sex-trafficking charges. Being the ‘upstanding citizen’ this man was he and his family took in a mentally-challenged young girl. For years – from the time she was 15 until 19 – her new ‘father’ took her from SW Missouri all the way to Las Vegas and every point in between. She was made to sign a ‘contract’ that she would work for him and be passed around to whomever wanted to pay the money. For a certain amount men could have sex with her, or watch while she was used by others, or if they wanted to pay extra they could watch while she was tortured. It was during one of these torture sessions that these men were caught. Apparently during one of the ‘electrical torture sessions’ she lost consciousness and her heart stopped beating. Rather than lose their ‘cash cow’ they rushed her to the emergency room. It was there that this girl told her story to the paramedics and doctors treating her. Needless to say, these men are now spending the rest of their life behind bars. But not before they made a quarter of a million dollars off of her.

When I would see your “Innocents At Risk” paraphernalia I thought it was a ‘good enough’ cause but not something we had to worry about in the United States. How wrong I was. Trust me, if this can happen in Mayberry RFD, in the middle of the Ozarks, smack dab in the middle of the Bible-Belt, then it can happen anywhere!

Kathie Truitt
Author/ Writer