Child Sex Trafficking in the USA: What Really Goes On

A soldier talks about her journey into human trafficking rescue.

Erika Clark is a young, Air Force intelligence analyst whose career was ended by a knee injury and now works with trafficked children in the Washington DC area.  The trafficked children are shuttled on a circuit between U.S. cities to avoid detection in the sex trade, where pimps put them on the street and force them to perform sex acts with approximately eight to ten men a night. The lifespan for a trafficked child after entering “the life” is around seven years before they’re killed or die from AIDS.

“I love them so much because they are no different than I am,” said Clark. “There’s absolutely nothing I’ve done, nothing about my character that makes me any more virtuous or any better than these girls that are working as prostitutes.”

The average age a child becomes prostitute in the USA is 13 years old and it’s estimated that 293,000 children in the USA could be trafficked, with the vast majority being girls. Portland, Oregon has become a sex trafficking capital of the United States, but Atlanta, Houston, Toledo, New York City, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Los Angeles are competitors. It’s rife in every major city. According to the FBI, sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.

Trafficking humans is not limited to smuggling people across international borders. Legally, anyone bought or sold through threat, force or coercion, put into the lifestyle against their will, is a trafficked person. Anyone who has a pimp, he’s a trafficker.

Trafficking rescue, a dangerous career

Clark was adrift and miserable after medically separated from her 10-year career in the military and she flopped about on her sofa for weeks, unsure of what to do next. She had a degree in security and intelligence with a minor in Middle Eastern studies, and studied Farsi at the Defense Language Institute in California. After six years of enlistment, she had been accepted into a Navy Intelligence Officer commissioning program and had been deployed to Qatar, where the summer temperature averages 130 degrees.
After her separation, Clark was unsure what the Navy intended for her and if she needed to start a new life. Was it time for her and her soldier husband to buy a house and start a family, could she continue with the Navy or should she start a new career? She selected the sofa and in her words, “feeling sorry for myself.”

Her husband Jaimie, deployed in Afghanistan, suggested that she find something to occupy her time so she wouldn’t be so upset about her ruptured career.

“So I was like gosh, if I could do anything, what would I do?” said Clark. “I wasn’t really sure because I’d been in the military my whole life since I was 18, so I really didn’t have any idea about what I could do if I could pick.”

Clark had always been passionate about human rights and began to look at non-profit organizations. Among her explorations, she attended a fund-raiser for a Washington DC shelter for rescued minor prostitutes founded by a woman formerly trafficked as child. After learning about the organization, Clark bought the founder a drink, told her she wanted to be part of the fight and was offered the job of personal assistant.

The former soldier began her trafficking work with only clerical duties, setting up meetings and filing papers, but the girls’ stories sent her into tears, daily.

“My boss initially wouldn’t let me interact with any of the clients because she said bursting into tears is not very helpful to them, which is true,” said Clark.

After six months, she began to direct client service training (the girls are called clients), and then she began to work on the hotline and in street outreach.

For a while, Clark’s husband was not OK with her choice of work and particularly uncomfortable about the DC street outreach, which is obviously dangerous. Jaimie drove her the 45 minutes from Annapolis into DC, even shadowed her as she walked “the track,” connecting with the young girls. All out-reach workers are required to take a self-defense class every quarter of the year to protect them from retaliation and violence, and eventually Jaimie began to instruct them.

“Jaimie was raised by a single mom and has several little sisters, so he’s really passionate about women not being defenseless,” said Clark. “He teaches the outreach workers to flip him and kick him and punch him and he comes home all beaten up, but he loves it because he really wants these women to be prepared.

He’s very supportive of it now, but he’s worried about my safety. He says that’s what he loves about me, that I’ve always been very passionate about fighting for people who are oppressed, so it’s something he loves about me, but it makes him nervous.”


Q: What do you do on street outreach?

Clarke: We went out on Friday and Saturday nights. We’d identify potential victims, potential traffickers and had outreach material that we’d try to give to the girls, but we can’t obviously, if there are any pimps around or any watchers. We had to stay very situationally aware of what was going on in order not to cause problems for the girls.

Q: What’s a watcher?

Clark:They’re people that have been paid off. Often they’re homeless people, because they’re not particularly loyal to one thing or another. Say a pimp has six girls, they call it a “stable,” he can’t keep his eye on all of them at the same time. So if they’re out working, he’ll pay a homeless guy like ten bucks to keep an eye on the girls and tell him if they’re talking to anyone, what they’re doing, so that the girls know they’re always being watched.

When they’re working, these girls don’t just stay in DC, they travel around. A pimp will have little pimp friends all around the country and they go from state to state. The girls we talk to, some are from Miami, Cincinnati, they’re from everywhere, which helps divert law enforcement because you don’t see the same girls all the time and it makes it harder to outreach to them because the girls are different all the time.

Q: So they can’t develop local connections either.

Clark:Definitely not, because they live with the pimp and the other girls in “the stable,” which is wherever they’re being held. He treats them like livestock and he tells them that they are. There’s a head girl and she’ll often collect money for him and kind of be his female counterpart. But the problem is these girls are fighting to be the pimp’s No. 1 girl because sometimes she can sleep in the bed with him or ride in the front seat of the car. They all think they’re in love with their pimp.

This is a very American thing, not with girls from other countries. The girls I worked with from DC, they all thought their pimps were their friends, so they compete with the other women for the affection of this one man. It’s a really messed-up situation.

Q: I don’t get this. Why do they think that this older man who is selling them for sex with other men is their boyfriend?

Clark:Usually what happens is there’s a runaway or a girl comes from a bad family situation, there are a lot of broken homes obviously, and the pimp will befriend them. If you or I saw this, we’d think it was incredibly inappropriate, but these are very impressionable young girls and there’s a 35 year-old man talking to this 12-year-old telling her, “Oh, you’re so pretty, you’re so smart,” just filling whatever she’s insecure about, building her up.

So, inevitably when the girl gets into a fight with her parents he really fans the flame of feeling—“He understands me, he cares about me.” Then he’ll take her out and buy her clothes, take her to dinner, courting-like rituals, and he’ll coerce her to leave her house and stay with him and this is the “honeymoon” phase.

Then about three or four weeks in he’ll say, “We need to make some money. We’ve been spending all this money and I don’t have any and my friend here says if you have sex with him he’ll give me ‘X’ money and we can pay the rent, I think you should.”

Obviously, this girl is not okay with that because many of them are virgins in the first place. Then he arranges the “seasoning” period, a period of time when the girl is getting raped by however many people it takes. He’ll bring her to a restaurant where he knows a bunch of people and in the kitchen, this little girl is raped by eight men in a row, things like that. Then he blames it on her, very similar to a domestic abuse situation, and he’ll say, “Why did you make me do that? I’ve done so much for you and I’ve asked only one thing and you couldn’t even do that!”

So, she’s feeling that he loves her so much and she couldn’t perform anything for him and that she deserved all of that. Sometimes it has to happen more than once, but eventually the girl just feels so impure and dirty that she won’t even ask for help because she feels like she wouldn’t be accepted back into her family because she’s fallen so far from who she was. Once she’s realizes that she’s a prostitute now and not going back to eighth grade, she’s in shock and traumatized. Then she’s introduced to the stable. The girls that have been there longer usually do a lot of her training and handle logistics.

Pimping is glamorized. People think Pretty Woman when they think prostitution, which is completely inaccurately represented.  At the Washington DC library last summer, they had a “Pimp out your library card!” promotion. People don’t know what pimping really looks like, but it’s seeped into our vernacular and it’s glamorized here more than in any other country.

Q: What about school?

Clark: Usually they’re removed from school, but it depends. In Atlanta, these pimps might have one residence in the inner city, but they usually also have a really nice house in a good part of town. A scary part about this is that you think you’re safe because you live in the suburbs and put your kids in a good school system so they can be protected from these things. But some of these pimps will actually put some of their girls into these good public schools and use his legitimate home address. These girls attend the public high schools and they groom younger girls in the schools completely under the nose of everybody—teachers, parents—they just think this senior girl is befriending your freshman daughter. She might give her a present, spend time with her and eventually she’s groomed right into the life.

Q: Prostitution and pimping fills a lot of content on primetime TV and the expressions have worked into everyday language and men, boys and even suburban girls regularly refer to girls and women as “hos” and “bitches.” What do you make of that?

Clark: My only idea of why women use those words to each other now is like how the African culture has kind of taken the “n” word back, so it’s not offensive when they speak to each other. It’s because it was such a derogatory word for such a long time. But even though we’re in a post-modern, feminist age in America, we still have Puritanical roots, so to challenge a woman’s purity still is a really deep offense even if she is more promiscuous. To call a woman a slut or a whore or imply any of those things like dirty or impure is still very offensive to women.

Q: Why don’t these girls jump on a bus and go back to their families and teachers?

Clark:When you’re trafficked and that young, and first of all, if you’re an American, you don’t even know you’re trafficked. Second, you don’t know if anyone’s looking for you or really cares because your pimp is telling you that you’re a whore and stuff.

Q: In the USA, what’s the penalty for trafficking and what’s the penalty for a john?

Clark: It’s by state and it’s a hot topic. The punishment is very lenient even if you get a conviction and to get a conviction you have to prove an awful lot to prove that a girl was trafficked. One of the biggest issues is getting these girls to testify. They usually suffer from Stockholm syndrome, where people who have been abused over a period of time feel attached to the perpetrator.

The thing about trafficked girls in America is that they love their pimps. They think he’s their boyfriend and that they’re going to marry their pimp once they earn some arbitrary amount of money—$120,000 I heard last time—and they’ll get married and live happily ever after. They don’t understand that they’re victims when we first get a hold of them and they’re pissed off that you’re not letting them talk to their boyfriend. They think you’re holding them away from their true love and they’re very upset about it, so they’re definitely not testifying against him in court. Convictions are extremely rare.

And for the johns, all they have to do is go to “john school,” which is this four-hour Saturday class that costs like $300. They’re supposed to be learning to respect women and not buy prostitutes and if they attend john school it goes off their record. They’re rarely arrested. There’s still a mentality that prostitution is a victimless crime. They see a girl that’s working and first of all, they think she’s 18 and second, that she’s there by choice and wasn’t coerced or forced.

Q: Do cops hit on these young girls too?

Clark: Yes, it’s going on. Not all police officers, but in any profession there’s going to be some bad apples. A lot of times this girl is about to get arrested or she gets arrested and put in a car and he gives her the option of going to jail or not.

Q: Is there a connection between prostitution and sporting events?

Clark: Yes, the Super Bowl, the World Cup, any large sporting event, they have a lot of trafficked women, unfortunately, around those events. They know that’s where the business will be.

One problem with prostitution, especially in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia, is that there’s more of a demand to be sure that the girls are HIV free. So the movement has been toward younger and younger girls and children to ensure that they are not infected.

There’s also a belief in South Africa and Namibia that the way to cure yourself from AIDS is to have sex with a virgin. So to make sure that she’s a virgin you have men raping toddlers—like two year-olds they will rape because they think they’ll be free from AIDS. But of course, that’s not how it works and now this little girl has HIV, too. Also, in South Africa, younger girls will have a sugar daddy situation with a much older man and that’s how the HIV is coming into the younger population.

Q: When you worked with child trafficking abroad, how was it different than in the USA?

Clark: The trend I noticed the most was the way the girls are trafficked in each country. In America, generally it’s coercion. Very rarely will you have a girl that’s kidnapped walking home from school. It happens, but not nearly as commonly as the relationship with the pimp and the grooming.

In Cambodia, it’s so impoverished. We were teaching English to some children in Phnom Penh in the slum area and one day, one of the little girls was missing from class. We found out her brother sold her to a trafficker—her own brother, not even her parents. What gives a brother the authority to do something like that?  She was seven and he was older, maybe 12. We assumed she went to Thailand. We didn’t ever find her.

There’s a lot of that in Cambodia because there’s such a crushing poverty. Mom’s a garbage picker and dad’s high or drunk all the time and the kids can’t even go to school because you have to pay to go to public school in Cambodia. They’re so vulnerable, like sitting ducks.

In Thailand, a lot of their parents were involved in it. Often these girls come from the villages and they get trafficked into the city either by an aunt or uncle or trafficker. What they do is go into villages and say, we have this great job and we’re looking for young ladies to work there—we have a new factory, or a fish company, or we need waitresses. The parents get some kind of living stipend sent back from the girls and they believe that’s what their daughters are going to go do. They aren’t educated people, they may be fishing people in a fishing village, so a lot of times the parents are involved.

India was incredibly violent and you’d hear horrible stories. These girls are on a train and they wake up and all of a sudden they’re in a brothel because they got drugged and just taken. There was the most snatching of girls in India of all the places I’ve been, and also in the surrounding countries where the girls get brought into India.

Q: If a guy goes to a travel agency in the USA, can he get book an overseas trip for a sex tour involving minors?

Clark: Obviously not an ethical travel agent, but there definitely are travel agencies that will book sex tours and trips, but they don’t advertise. Usually these men find out about sex excursions like that from other men and use the same travel service. Men operate together, so they teach other and encourage each other in trafficking. If you can change the heart of one man, so many girls are spared.

People still don’t think that human trafficking occurs in America. They think it’s something that happens to those poor little girls in Thailand, but they don’t understand that it happens to poor little girls in America too.

In America, these girls are required to make a quota every night. They’ll be out on the street all night until five in the morning and they’ll do in-call, out-call all day long, the Craig’s List stuff, basically pimps bringing them to hotels or johns are coming to them in hotels. Some girls are minors working in strip clubs in America and they’re trafficked. The clubs that usually have trafficked girls are a little bit shadier and the danger level goes up when you go into those places.

According to prostitutes, the trend with men is that they’ve become incredibly violent and more perverse. As porn becomes more violent and exploitive, so have men’s sexual appetites and these little prostitutes are paying for it. There’s more violence, punching, hitting, bruising, making these girls bleed and that applies to children as well.

Q: What do the rescued girls do at the shelter?

Clark: The girls in recovery are home-schooled because they may have been out of a school for a few years and are behind. They may do art, yoga, dance or karate. They make jewelry and sell it online. They give them the freedom to be little and they try to see what it is that makes each girl come alive, encourage them to dream again.

Trafficking is not just a women’s issue, and it’s not like the girls even keep any of the money. They say prostitution is the oldest profession and it’s always been accepted, but I say look at William Wilberforce—he took down the trans-Atlantic slave trade. That was totally legal and it was a very accepted part of the economy and he fought it and it became illegal within 20 years.

It’s slavery. Slavery happened since the beginning of time too, people are always going to subjugate weaker people. People do awful things to each other, but just because it’s been happening for a long time doesn’t make it okay. Just because there are women who are always being sold doesn’t make it an acceptable thing to do with a human being.

Other sources:

The Protection Project: Johns Hopkins University

Trafficking in Persons Report: U.S. Department of State

Shared Hope International


—Photo isaacd / flickr

About LE Eisenmenger

LE Eisenmenger is a freelance writer with recently featured work at Examiner, US Soccer Players and SoccerLens. You can follow her on Twitter @madisonroad.


  1. Eleanor White says:

    You might be interested in a kind of new
    approach to human trafficking by Minnesota-
    based retired NYC detective Jim Rothstein:

    Jim is hoping his idea will expand to many other
    cities. Please consider it seriously.

    Eleanor White
    Elliot Lake, ON

  2. John D, I’m going out with someone who escaped. you shut your damn mouth. “how do we know they were forced?” You are filth for even suggesting that a 13 year old would find that appealing.

  3. I am 25 years old and have been sexually abused for 10 years of my childhood. Just say it was daily frequent thing that happened. My mother was a heroin addict who is now dead, she died when I was 19. Eventually I got to go back to my grandmas care who,raised be from birth to three years of age until my addict mother took me from my only known home, lost custody of me for neglect and sent me to a foster . home my grand,other spent thousands of dollars fighting to get custody however I am an Indian by blood and my mother had the chocktaw nation who flew attorneys to fight this custody battle my grandma did not get custody instead my mother wanted me to go to foster care until she could clean up her act. I only had 1 hour visitation a month with my grandparents. My mother visited me The week before she had regained custody of me two years later. One what a messed up thing to do. 2 she took me down on her spiral to becoming a heroin addict, prostitute, diabetic, always on her death bed. She got involved with my first child molester her boyfriend. Who abused me daily I spoke of this abuse to my mother several times only to get the drowsy reply from my mother listen to your daddy, you can’t always have your wayMy mother was so high I can’t even say she heard my pleadings for it to stop. Eventually I thought it was what happened all the time to everyone and just like sex with your wife was not discussed openly. Eventually my mother and her boyfriend owed their suppliers money who traded their dept for me I can recall being drugged at 7 or 8 more than one time and men touching me in able to move and waking up the next day in agony from the cramps. I am not a prostitute nor do I think that all prostitutes are forced or their because they have no other outlets however young girls are conditioned, just like molesting, and so on. I can see how any child not just other people’s children get trafficked but how uncles cousins grandparents can open the gates knowingly and sometimes not aware that they are setting these girls and boys up for prostitution. I could just imagine all of my situations I have been in, how much worse it may have been. Ism sure at my hopeless points of abuse when Turing to my mom wouldn’t help she did not care, if a older man said hey come with me at 8 your mom does not care , you are being used, and I will take care of you and one day let you go back to your grandmas when we find her. I could have easily ended up there. Thankfully at eleven my grandmother regained custody of me again because I got in trouble and the police showed up when they took me back to my moms the found her lying naked on the couch unconscious despite the fact they were there for 15 mins watching me run around the house trying to wake her up with cold water thrown on her getting her a cup of sugar and water, she always asked for that when she OD something to do with being  diabetic. I was coached to nurse my mother instead of 911 when she took to much or had a hard comedown at the age of 7. That was not the end on my sexual abuse my grandmother remarried just before she won custody of me to a man who was a professional gospel singer who molested me to now at this point It was not of feeling like its ok but sadly my grandmother had a brain Tumor that made her lose her memory and he used that to get away with his perverted acts. However it was not near a severe abuse as with my mother and only lewd acts. I am not on a corner today have never been. I do not sleep around have had three sex partners by choice and know first had how tedious a young Curropt  mind is. “ABUSE” it’s the key to proof abuse is everywhere from physical emotional mentally brainwashing. It’s everywhere and what is worst is America is worse due to the fact it’s so hidden from public opinion, is I better to have a  pedophile amongst family’s and people of all classes. Or do you think it worse to hear of these tragic events that happen to women in other country’s the whole idea is its everywhere and it’s,happening for the same reasons it is there, poor  parents not educated enough to see the dangers of whom ever is the one to sell or abuse their children and other who just don’t give a damn, selfish older brothers, uncles cousins. They are all here. What makes you think any traumatized girl wants to admit she has been abused to critical people ready to fault and criticisise their abuse. You need to really wake up. Its everywhere, I don’t think you have a clue if you guys want to see fact go to, a welfare office you’ll see stinky broke uneducated people listen to their conversations amongst each other observe who is,with them. They men and children both. Wealthy people have no idea what people poor people are dealing with most are or have been abused, in some way shape or form and. Not to say that wealthy children do not run away with a pimp, but lot as often as girls in my situation who weren’t strong enough to have faith that there is a time when all things will be as It should. Just an abused girls point of view

  4. Rodrigo Vazquez says:

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn !
    that’s waaack .

  5. John Sctoll says:

    People wonder “WHY”, Why do underage girls get all the media coverage, and why not boys. Probably for the same reason pretty , young white girls who go missing get all the attention. Probably the same reason that when there is a disaster, major mass killing etc, that women specifically are mentioned. i.e. “20 people were killed today in train derailment, including a number of women”. WHY, because women are considered way more valuable to society as a whole.

    Sex-trafficking stereotype demolished by new research
    Alarmists nationwide in denial

    This is another report, quite new, November 2011, which you might find to be useful about the situation of boys regarding human trafficking and sexual abuse.

  7. I wonder why all reports are about girls as victim of sex trafficking.

    Men and especially underage boys are also the target of sex trafficking in surprisingly large number in USA and elsewhere, however the problem is underreported. Who cares about boys anyway?

    Boy sex trafficking rings represent a major criminal enterprise in the United States, see link above.

    • Erika Clark says:

      You are so right- most of the reports and statistics are about young girls. This is not right and it is not fair. Honestly, only recently have people even acknowledge that there was such a thing in America as “domestic sex trafficking”. Prostitution has historically been viewed as a “victimless crime” because people have not realized that not all of those girls are there by choice, and many are not old enough to consent to a choice such as that in the first place.

      The organization that I work for is one of the few in the country that also reaches out to boys. The boy track is actually a much more enjoyable and less stressful experience for us on the outreach team. They don’t have pimps watching them and ready to beat them, so we are able to talk to them and find out how they are doing. And of course, if we see a boy who we know is underage, we call our friends at the local PD who specialize in child exploitation. We partner with them to get the boy some help.

      But there is a long way to go with the boys especially. Almost no one realizes that it is an issue and that those boys are victims. It is a messy area because of differing views about homosexuality and the like. Because of various laws and licenses, even my boss who is the founder of my organization and LOVES those boys is unable to put minor boys and girls in the same group home.

      Also, there are organizations around the country that are getting wise to the fact that exploitation of children knows no gender, and that we need to provide equal services for the boys. Unfortunately this is a long and drawn out process- particularly when you have to educate every single person you speak with that it is, in fact, a problem. And then you get what you might have read above in the comments about this article- people who in their quest for truth fixate on arguing about the numbers rather than building homes and programs for the boys. Accurate numbers are extremely difficult to attain unless you are willing to infiltrate- and very few organizations/people are willing to do that. Even still, my organization has numbers about are area of the country, but that isn’t necessarily transferable to other cities.

      So take heart. There are people who are aware of this and are working to protect and fight for all children. People do care about these boys. But there is a long road ahead.

    • Thank you for sharing this link Yohan. I have a changed view now. This type of media manipulation is unacceptable.

      • Thank you very much for your supportive comment for male victims.

        It is not easy to research, but it seems about 45 percent of underage victims of sexual abuse and trafficking otherwise are boys. It is not true that the ‘huge majority are girls’ as stated in this thread by the OP.

        I posted another link, with a fairly new report, and the result is about the same, there is a considerable number of male victims, some of them very young, and there is nothing provided for them… except jail. There are almost no programs available for shelters, education for boys, almost all and everything is for girls only.

        We MRAs think, this must be changed, but to say that is not really politically correct.

        Please read the report. Thank you! Yohan

    • Personally, I think it isn’t that boys caren’t cared about directly. Perhaps it is for the same psychological reason that horror movies depict women dying in gruesome ways more than men, or that women are shown being rendered helpless even in children’s movies far more than boys. Perhaps, boys are expected to act like men and defend themselves, and while it is mentally acceptable to watch girls being exploited and demeaned, it is not so acceptable to watch that same treated for boys. Perhaps, boys being in positions where they are rendered helpless isn’t ‘sexy’. It doesn’t titillate the senses the way thoughts of girls being sexually molested does. In this society, boys aren’t readily portrayed as sexual ‘objects’ and so, when they are in reality treated that way, their plight is much more invisible. Perhaps it smacks too closely to homosexuality. Perhaps it is even more hidden because those who would pursue this sort of sexual abuse are even more concealed than those who abuse women.

  8. Jonathan D says:

    As a sex addict in recovery for some years now, I am angry that there are so many who go out of their way to create “debate” around the truth of sex trafficking. I can’t tell you how many 12-step groups I’ve sat in, filled to the rafters with guys like me who used massage parlors and escort services in our city. The sad and horrible truth is part of what makes using them easy is precisely that the girls are so young and do not speak English. It helped me (and other guys who’ve shared this, too) to not ‘connect’ with the reality that these are girls far from home, alone and pretty obviously not there by choice since they’re illegal here and way too young.. It’s obvious in looking back over my behaviors (and it’s hard to do) that the disconnect was made all the easier by the fact that the girls can’t talk to you-
    Every month there were new girls. When I’d ask where “Sue” was, the Asian front-desk person would smile and say, ‘She went back to her country’. Right, wonder how she did that? With that Passport she doesn’t have access to? Today, I know this is how they keep the revolving door going of ‘new girls’ all the while minimizing the risk that one of us would rescue her….just cycle them in and out of other ‘dens’.
    It’s sick and disheartening to read others try and debunk these ugly realities of sex trafficking. Wish the authors would have talked to the hundreds of us sex addicts who meet every week– we could verify the reality of the revolving-door of what sure seemed like underage Asian girls …and there are hundreds of these places in my city. Hundreds.
    Thanks for writing this important article– Keep up the efforts on behalf of all the girls out there.

    • In reply to Johnathan D:
      What proof do you have that the girls you saw were underage? That is, under the age of 18? What proof do you have that they were forced? If the girls came and went – how is that proof that they were being mistreated? And who was forcing them? You are just guessing. Were the girls you saw kicking screaming and crying while you were trying to have sex with them? So, you are admitting that you raped underage girls by force? You need to turn yourself into the police. What didn’t you do that? You need to go to jail Johnathan.

    • I appreciate your courage, and I wish you well in your continued recovery. Thank you for standing up for those who truly are unable to speak for themselves. Does it really matter how many women and children are being trafficked anually? I mean really? How many people abused and exploited does it take for some people to decide it is a problem? Is that how they determine whether or not to allow someone to throw money at the issue, by stats? People on the front lines have to be discredited so they can stick their head in the sand, or excuse their own behavior that is ‘isn’t that bad,what are those bleeding hearts complaining about?’ or ‘those people really chose to have sex with me for cash, so that’s ok, right?’ Is using other people purely as a resource to get your base animal drives pumping ever a moral choice?

  9. Sex trafficking is illegal and the penalties are very severe. It is very difficult to kidnap and force someone to be a forced prostitute sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police. They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met. They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well. They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare.

    The numbers of sex trafficking sex slaves:
    There is a lot of controversy over the numbers of adult woman who are forced sex slaves. The real factual answer is that no one knows. There is hard evidence that the sex slavery/sex trafficking issue continues to report false information and is greatly exaggerated by politicians, the media, and aid groups, feminist and religious organizations that receive funds from the government, The estimate of adult women who become new sex slaves ranges anywhere from 40 million a year to 5,000 per year all of which appear to be much too high. They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it. Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers. In fact if some of these numbers are to believed which have either not changed or have been increased each year for the past twenty years, all woman on earth would currently be sex slaves. Yet, very few real forced against their will sex slaves have been found.

    • John Wilberfore says:

      So, after all of that, where are your sources? You claim that things have been proven false, but you don’t provide any sources? You make huge numerical assumptions, and yet….provide no sources? Provide no evidence? Did you even read the article? I mean, seriously, yours is by far the weakest most personally driven opinion-piece masquerading as intellectual thought that has been posted on here yet. You cite no facts of your own, and rant about how there are people who are trying to get the governments money? Really? Come on. I think we all deserve better than that. If you disagree because you feel like it, fine, just say that. If you disagree because you have facts – that you can demonstrate – then say that. Otherwise, the rhetoric is just lame.

    • Wow! Jeff are you really this ignorant?

      • Actually the sex trafficking fear-mongers CONSISTENTLY fail to produce any solid peer-reviewed research.

        All the hoopla about the world cup in germany drawing in 50,000 sex trafficked women sent the law enforcement into overdrive. After 100’s of thousands of additional man hours of police and investigators, volunteers and others only 5 total cases were produced.

        Go upthread to read MANY such stories in which HUGE investigations only yield handfuls or goose eggs (zero) cases.

        I refuse to entertain other peoples fear-mongering any more.
        Produce some peer reviewed credible research or point to an instance where these huge police crackdowns didn’t produce only 1% or less of expected cases expected based on fear-mongering advocates and you’ll shut me up.

  10. The media will say that millions of people are kidnapped forced sex slave prostitutes without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These “non profit” group’s employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.
    Where are all the forced kidnapped prostitute sex slaves?
    I would like to meet the millions of sex slaves and see for myself if they were in fact kidnapped, and forced against their will. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims.Everything I heard about this problem was Americans complaining about it, but I never heard from the so-called victims themselves complaining about it. Why is that? Many of the self appointed experts complaining about this have never even met or seen a real forced against their will victim.
    These anti-prostitution groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies.
    This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me. I would like to see a news organization do a full report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves. The articles about the super bowl sex slaves, has been proved wrong many times, but news organizations still report about it, as if it were fact.While there are some women who may be true victims. This is a small rare group of people.
    What hard evidence does the police have that these women were forced slaves? Were all the women that the police saw in fact slaves? Did the police prove without a doubt due to hard concrete evidence that the women were victims of being slaves and forced against their will? Did they account for all the benefits they would receive if they lied? I find it very hard to believe that most women in this business are forced against their will to do it. It would just be too difficult.

    • Sounds Familiar says:

      Wow. Drown the message and the story with words and statistics. Just don’t look at the emotional truth.
      If any of these “statisticians” had read the article they would have noted that the children caught in these traps have been seduced and manipulated into mistaking abuse for love, often because they came from families with problems. That they may deny they are being coerced or not report it does not mean that it isn’t coercion or damaging.
      When I was working in a shelter I saw a young mildly intellectually impaired girl fall for this. She believed before she met this man that she was unlovable and worthless. For a brief time she was on top of the world. Someone loved her! Then as things evolved she kept trying to fit the events into a scenario in which she was still loved “and important.” She was devastated. If she felt worthless before, what was she now? She did not want to see.
      It was heartbreaking. She was a vulnerable sweet little girl.
      But it is well known that pedophiles don’t even “like” their victims and typically blame the child.

      One wonders what the up close and personal experience is of some of these posters who are drowning the topic in words and numbers. Didn’t someone say he had “been in the trenches”? one wonders doing what.

      • Sounds,
        A drive for the truth is just that: an urgent request to get at the truth.

        Nobody fears the truth except for liars.

    • So Jeff (or is John?) after looking over your website I realize you would probably deny the Trans-Atlantic slave trade too..

      • Steph, I am not Jeff. I don’t have a home page. Upthread I posted a link to a debunking of the 300k number of sex trafficked children in the usa. I can’t be sure to what web-page you are referring based on your remark.

        I am specifically responding to Sounds questioning WHY somebody would want accurate numbers of sex trafficked children (and criticize “cooked” numbers).

        A drive for honest numbers is not denial. It seems many on this sight want to deny that the problem of sex trafficked children in the usa is much smaller in terms of numbers than the shoddy research suggests.

        We should embrace the truth no matter where it leads us.

        I am not well enough researched on trans-atlantic slave trade to state anything about it. (Hint: I admit my failings).

        This isn’t the first time this has happened.
        What happened to the oil shortage of the 70’s that lead to production of all those chevettes and pintos? What happened to all those latchkey kids? What happened to all those crack babies? Where are all those fraternity rapes? What happened to all these tens of thousands of women dying from snuff film producers? What happened to all those swine flu cases, SARS, Bird flu? There is always some hyped up epidemic of some kind floating around.

        Considering all the exhaustive false scares it would take a saint not to be VERY skeptical. If it annoys some on here that we want accurate numbers (rather than shoddy advocacy research), then you will just have to be annoyed.

        People’s attempts to throw whatever labels upon us for a drive for truth aren’t sticking. Using those tactics says a lot more about those individuals then they do about the critics of this article.

    • This is one case I found by a simple Google search:

      Just one case, where they were actually caught and prosecuted. Just like drug dealers, or murders, or embezzlers, or other practiced criminals, how many actually get caught? How many are actually prosecuted?

  11. Erika – It’s interesting to hear from people with real world experience, and who can tell it like it is.

    I was struck by you saying that you recognized that you are in essence no different to the children you reach out to. I’m so glad to hear that you have that attitude. So many have the view that they are superior and are acting to, as it were, lift people out of a hole. That can be so disrespectful and damaging, both in the short term and the long term.

    You say that you are interested in becoming a Human Rights Attorney – well there are already too few about, and with your attitude and experience, I believe you would make an excellent addition. So many people who need that help are in fact Orphan Legal Migrants, left wandering across the legal system desperate to find the one person who will see the Justice of their case and then fight with them.

    Dealing with issues on the streets is both hard and easy (as you are no doubt aware), and I was struck by your reference to “If you can’t feed one hundred, then just feed one.”. This is very true, but even more so when it comes to law. One good case can change everything for all the people affected, especially when it’s Human Rights. That can mean having to leave many in a negative position whilst taking the one case to open up Pandora’s Box. But once the box is open the horrors all come out – and then there is also hope. It’s hard to have to stand back and take action for the greater good. I’m sure your military training will help you with that.

    I’m sorry if you thought that people were being negative in highlighting how some have jumped on a band wagon around child prostitution and trafficking – and the highly questionable figures that are being used across the media. I noted that you made reference to competitiveness and how it damages the client group. It also makes it hard to make comment in public. P^)

    I have seen it myself in my own work – there is no issue until some realize they can use the issue for personal glory and power. Anyone who questions the figures is then labeled as uncaring, abusive, promoting child prostitution and even trafficking. That is not the case. There are two interrelated issues – the needs of the kids – and those who see the kids as a means to an end.

    So many don’t and wont deal with reality – they create a reality to fit their own agendas. That created reality all too often means that the reality of the kids you deal with gets twisted and changed to fit other peoples agendas, interests, media access and even political aspirations and social standing. Money gets used as a power tool in that dynamic and gets side tracked and used to further the agendas and not the needs of the people they speak so freely about – the kids.

    I object to that, as it abuses these children all over again and uses them in ways they don’t deserve. It just makes work like your’s harder and also encourages far too many to look at Victims/Survivors in ways that are not real. It all too often becomes about “Sweet Tea and Sympathy” rather than empowering people just as they are. It even encourages people with the wrong knowledge and experience to act independently – and as you are aware that can be very dangerous – and most dangerous for the Kids.

    Crusades are an old tool in human history – and time and time again they just cause more damage.

    Keep up the good work – and I hope your dream of being a Human Rights Attorney pans out. It won’t make you rich, and it may not even make you happy, but I suspect it will bring you a great deal of satisfaction, and helping one person can unlock the gates for so many more.


  12. Erika Clark says:

    Nichole- Gosh… Thank you for sharing that on here. It must be very difficult, indeed, for you to read these arguments about statistics and figures when you know better than most the reality of the street.

    The piece of information that I generally don’t include when I speak to people about my human rights work is my own background. Before blowing out my knee. Truth is, I was a runaway, too. There was a lot going on in my house- and I was either kicked out or ran away frequently. I am now working on repairing the relationships within my family, so for that reason I don’t announce in public forums the exact situations that led me to being out on the streets as often as I was, but I bet you get it.

    When I got into this work, I already knew that I was no better than these girls. I don’t think that any of us can ever help anyone if we think we are doing them some kind of big favor- you know, reaching down from our ivory tower and all. But there was a night last October on Outreach where this strange series of events transpired- culminating with a pimp approaching me and trying to get me to go with him. At my age, happily married, it obviously didn’t work. But I was struck with the realization that… I would have gotten into his car SO FAST back when I was a runaway. That was the night that I realized that not only am I NO BETTER than those girls. I am no different. We are the same- except I got lucky. Now, I want to fight for them to have the same opportunities that I have had.

    I see the faces, too. Like you. I definitely understand that numbers are also important- and with such limited grant money and government funding, organizations do tend to be competitive with one another in order to get that grant money to continue operating. Unfortunately, this is often to the detriment of the children.

    How many children do we see per week? Well- we see a lot, but the track that I work is the “pimp control track” (I also work the transgender track with the teenage boys.) which means that these girls must absolutely be approached with the most extreme amount of caution. There are only 3 of us gals going out together in the middle of the night, and we are unarmed. But even more of a concern than our own safety is that of the girls who we seek to reach out to. More than likely, the pimps won’t do anything to us, but the girls are the ones who will later be punished for speaking to us. That being said- we are supposed to consider it a “good night” if we are able to connect with 2 “PVs” (potential victims). I know… that sucks. We see many more, but there are very strict rules about approaching the girls- all for their safety. And we refuse to put them in harm’s way to increase our numbers.

    What solutions do I favor? This is a great question. I am still working this out for myself. After I returned from my 4 month trip to S.E. Asia and my husband returned from Afghanistan, we had a very serious heart to heart. What’s next for us? He encouraged me to pursue my life long dream of becoming a human rights attorney. I fought it for a while- that is such a dearly held dream of mine, that I was scared to stand up to criticism and the possibility of failure at something I cared so deeply about. But then I knew that my petty little fears of failure could no longer prevent me from fighting for these human beings with everything that I have. That beings said, I fully expect to learn a lot more about the inner legality of these issues over the next three years, and I am trying very hard to go in to it with an open mind- and be willing to let go of some or all of the opinions that I currently hold.

    Erin- I am touched by your honesty and by your acknowledgement of your own humanity. I understand exactly what you mean- when you look at a crushing problem and wonder how just one person like little old you could ever make a difference. Recently, people have started to ask me to come and speak on this topic- and of upmost importance to me is leaving the people feeling hopeful. Like they matter in this fight. When I was working in Kolkata, my whole team and I were devastated by the crushing poverty. The things that we saw and experienced there were unreal. We felt so small in such an awful world and believe that we were drops in the bucket. So for inspiration, a team mate bought a book of Mother Theresa quotes. We would read them when we were really down since we were staying a 5 minute walk from “Mother House”. The quote that comes to my mind when I read the struggle in your heart is this, “If you can’t feed one hundred, then just feed one.” That one helped us a lot. Just focus on the one, Erin. You will be overwhelmed if you look at the magnitude of the world’s depravity. At least I know that I am.

    And finally, a quick comment about LE Eisenmenger. She is a professional sports writer- has been for years. She was going along just fine in her very successful career. Then she was exposed to this issue. Even though it had zero to do with anything that she had built her career upon, she went for it. I admire the heck out of that woman, and frankly, I was surprised to see all of the negative feedback being directed at her for the stats. She is a fantastic journalist, but she can only work with the information that is available- good, bad, or ugly. She went way out of her comfort zone to write this article because she cares about those kids. It really shocked me to see how many people jumped all over her when she was doing a good thing.

    • To Erika: thanks for sharing so openly. One of the most amazing things about speaking with you was how enthusiastic and joyful you were about such a grim situation. I’ve tried to carry that forward in my own pursuits.

      To Anonymous re hijacking: Imagine a story as park and all the things that go in it: romantic walks, crime, wildlife, ball games, homeless people, rain, lawn mowing, working on laptops during lunch, loneliness, statues, fountains, public gatherings. Now imagine talking about that park with a group of people and one person insists on discussing only one of those aspects as if that was the entire meaning and purpose of the park and the other things had no relevance. And anytime someone tries to talk about the homeless or the gardens or the public gatherings the other person ignores them and tries to drown them out talking about statues.

      • John Schtoll says:

        LE : you bring up an excellent point actually. Well done.

        So we have this park and there are all kinds of things going on in the park, some good , some bad. The org that is tasked with providing funding to the park decides that getting rid of the wildlife is their #1 priority as it will enchance public safety (a laudable goal), as you have pointed out there are many things going on in the park that require attention.

        Would it matter if there were only 1 incident of a problem with wildlife per year and hundreds or thousands of other incidents and that the park org wants to spend the majority of money on that 1 incident of wildlife. Of course it would and you know damn well it would. the number matter when deciding what to spend money on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I was comparing the two, in terms of morbidity. On average, is a child in America more likely to die of A) complications from obesity and heart disease or B) killed while a sex slave? I think A is the much, much more likely danger. Sorry, don’t have exact figures on that, but I’m very confident that the difference is huge. The first danger is not as interesting or as crusade-worthy or as unremittingly evil, but it is nonetheless the greater threat. It’s an incremental threat, so ubiquitous that we hardly notice, but still a threat nonetheless.

    My point about getting paid is precisely that it is no better and no worse if someone pays before raping a child or doesn’t pay before raping a child. It’s rape either way. It’s already a heinous crime either way, as it should be. If there’s money exchanging hands, then it’s conspiracy and a host of other crimes, but is the rape itself more heinous because there’s money involved? I say no. If it is worse, then the corollary would be that it’s NOT so bad if you never paid for it, and that sounds pretty horrible, don’t you think?

    I can only imagine from the victim’s point of view, from the standpoint of the victim’s deep trauma, that it would be hard to tell the difference between a rape committed in order for an adult to make money and a rape committed by an abusive parent.

    • Who do you think you are kidding? says:

      You don’t make any sense…. You have such skewed logic:

      More people are killed by cars than planes. So we should divert all attention to cars and not worry about plane safety. WTF?

      That is basically your argument.

      I’m sorry, but it doesn’t matter if its one kid or a thousand. Molestation, sexual abuse, sexual slavery is wrong and must be stopped. Period.

      I’m trying to understand your angle…why is it that you are against efforts to shield kids from this type of harm?

      • John Schtoll says:

        His angle as you put it is priorities. With infinte resources both money and emotional we could eradicate all the problems effecting children (in theory) but we don’t have infinite, therefore we should be going after the problem that (in no particular order)

        a) Are most likely to be solved
        b) Will help the most people (children)

        This is what he is saying. I know that sex trafficking is a high priority right now because it is in the media alot and it garners much sympathy.

        The numbers matter, not because sex trafficking is less (or more) damaging to children, but because there are more victims of other crimes and things like obesity.

  14. Anonymous says:

    In response to Erin and others:

    With all due respect, in a society with finite resources, it makes a huge difference if it’s one girl or one million girls. I completely agree that the numbers have nothing to do with whether slavery is evil or not. It’s evil, whether it’s on a large scale or small scale.

    Realistically, however, at some point society needs to prioritize threats to our children according to how *likely* those threats are. Not just how horrible those threats are, but also how likely they are to happen. We don’t have infinite public resources, we don’t have infinite emotional reserves, and we can’t create a government with infinite responsibilities. There are clearer, bigger, more common dangers to our children that are losing media attention when the media is chasing something elusive. I bet there are law enforcement people and social workers out there right now who have less time to fight “everyday” child abuse today because they are under pressure to “get results” in the fight against something nearly impossible to find.

    For every child slave, there must be 10,000 kids fattened up with fast food until they get heart disease. For every child victim of criminal enterprise, there must be 1000 children turning to crime themselves. For every child slave coerced into performing sex acts for paying customers, there must be thousands getting coerced by a family member into performing sex with no payment at all. I’m not sure why an exchange of money makes this evil so much more special. Is an abusive pimp really worse than an abusive parent? That’s the impression I get from the current outrage.

    It’s very noble and heroic to refuse to put a price on the safety of a single individual, but in reality we do it all the time. We generally hate to admit it, but our economic and political system works with finite values for human life on a regular basis. A billion dollars spent to save one life is too high a price. Call me callous, but our government, our insurance companies, our manufacturers make decisions like that every day.

    • To Anonymous:

      Wait, you’re comparing an overweight child with a raped and trafficked child?

      And this: “There must be thousands getting coerced by a family member into performing sex with no payment at all.”

      Really, being paid for rape is an advantage?

    • Anonymous, it’s interesting that you mention what our society has the ability to do or not do with it’s resources and how we need to “realistically” prioritize threats when it comes specifically to children. I think we are all intelligent enough to understand that society doesn’t have infinite resources. I’m just baffled at you using this specific article as a sounding board for issues you logistically really have with Government more then anything else. This article is meant to bring awareness about a realistic problem, it’s not a platform for your personal political crusade.

      But if you want to get into politics, lets get into politics. Lets talk about our finite resources in all it’s realism. Tax payer money and government money wasted on government pensions, money spent to implement stores in so called “food deserts”, universal healthcare, money wasted in certain school districts to be dolled out to tired 10-year teachers and overpaid superintendents, money spent on worthless “organizations” and “committees” that keep political hacks in the pension system, money wasted on illegal immigrants, money sent overseas to children in other countries while children go starving right here in America. Yes, lets talk about are lack of infinite resources. But lets not let our own politics be used to ignore an important issue. Child sex trafficking. If you don’t consider child sex trafficking an important enough issue over such things like child obesity or molestation within a family, then why are you here? This article is about a woman’s experiences with child sex trafficking and what she has done to try and help.

      Further, discussions about sex trafficking no way implies that other issues children face aren’t important. You can’t say that because obesity affects more children nationally then sex trafficking might, that it’s imperative to only concern society with obesity in children and not the sexual exchange of children for adults. You can’t claim that “realism” only applies to priortizing children issues while ignoring that the real issue you have is with how Government wastes his dollar. But this article isn’t about Government or how it wastes his dollar on children in America or other countries. (Although I suspect that would be an interesting article). This article is about the very real issue of child sex trafficking. And I can’t help but think that any other discussion to the contrary is an arbitrary excuse to avoid talking about the actual topic then to get down into the nitty gritty of the sex trafficking industry.
      I’m sorry but based on your post, your issue is with the government, not child sex trafficking. And that has no place in the context of what this article was about.

      If you are interested in discussing the political ramifications of government waste, I think that could be a heck of an article. But at some point, you got to stop yourself from using government as a justification on why we can’t address the issue of child sex trafficking.

  15. Wonderful Interview that shows insight into an issue that too often goes undiscussed. I think people are too scared to really address the ugly realities of what is happening concerning the sex industry and children. It is not a pretty or comfortable topic, it’s down right skin crawling. People do not want to think of toddlers getting raped. Or 11 year old American girls being used by 9 men at one time even though it happens. People don’t want to think about the men, who are honestly the ones that are most often using and peddling the system, that could be “regular” people using the sex industry behind “closed doors”. Lets just think about all the stories that have come out about people in respected careers that have been found out using children for sexual gratification? Do we really think this stuff only happens “a little bit”? And does it even matter if it only happens “a little bit?” Doesn’t it matter that it happens at all?

    I’m disturbed by references that discussion on this issue is merely a political ploy used to exploit children when the issue is obviously just that, children being exploited. It seems so backwards to me to fight a discussion about why we shouldn’t talk about such an obviously very real issue of child exploitation on the back of it being exploitive of children to even acknowledge that their sexual abuse through sex trafficking happens.

    At the end of the day, I don’t care if this happens to 1 girl or 1 million children. It’s a problem. Period. Not one of us is so ignorant that we don’t know that. I know for myself that when I am confronted with this issue that I am faced with a variety of feelings. I want to flee the other direction because I don’t want to know that young children are getting raped. It’s safer to live in my bubble. The second feeling is one of being overwhelmed with the magnitude of children that need help. And the last feeling is total helplessness. What can I do to help? There are too many kids in that world and what am I suppose to do about it? Do I even want to “go there” to help? Truth is, I don’t. So I suspect that that’s how alot of people feel as well. But we need to wake up. Stop arguing over semantics of who it happens to, or what gender it happens to more, or that it doesn’t happen as much as we think it does. That crap doesn’t matter. What we do know is that it happens. And that a number of children are being exploited and used for sexual gratification of adults. That’s all we really need to know. And we need to understand that this isn’t a Third World Country problem only.

    A special thanks to LE Eisenmenger for writing this important piece, to Erika Clark for sharing her knowledge and experiences first hand with insight and grace, to Nicole for also sharing her own knowledge and experiences and Lili Bee for articulating a lot of good points with facts.

    • ” The second feeling is one of being overwhelmed with the magnitude of children that need help. And the last feeling is total helplessness. What can I do to help? There are too many kids in that world and what am I suppose to do about it? Do I even want to “go there” to help? Truth is, I don’t. So I suspect that that’s how alot of people feel as well.”

      It’s very emotive stuff – and no one can disagree with that. It’s emotive when Figures such as 300000 American children being trafficked or at risk. The figures are shocking and highly emotive – they are in front of Congress – in the media and getting many people emotional. Anyone who is seen as in any way not supporting the needs of children 100% is automatically bad.

      The problem is the figures are bogus – and so many people are being emotionally abused. The figures are being used to get access to Tax Dollars to fight a none existent problem, when those tax dollars need to be in the hands of people like Erika who are dealing with reality and the real problem.

      There is an election coming – and some are playing a very political game with abused children. Make voters feel helpless at the scale of the problem and any candidate who disagrees with the problem will loose votes.

      I wish more people would get emotional about the reality of child abuse – child prostitution – child trafficking – and listen less to bad media, panic morality and bogus figures that only serve the interests and employment status of a group who are Capitalizing on abused children – and not actually dealing with the abuse.

      Why is it that the DOJ won’t accept the figures of 300000 and then 200000 and then 100000 – and which keep being changed from 300000 young kids actually “Being” abused and trafficked to “At Risk”.

      If the figures are so accurate – why do the change – and why do the meanings keep changing?

      Whilst those who claim to care keep changing the numbers and tax dollars required, they could be on the streets rather than flying to Washington, staying in Five start hotels and holding cocktail parties to schmooze with Political Types and Media.

      I believe in Priorities – and I also question the priorities of quite a few who claim to care.

      Politics is a dirty business – and it’s beyond politically dirty to use abused children in the way that some are doing.

    • To Erin: Thank you for your insightful comment

      To Mediahound: We have repeatedly heard what you have say and it’s pretty clear that you have an agenda here, and one that is not in the interests of trafficked children. Don’t twist my article to promote your agenda, which gets sketchier with every post. Your posts have exceeded hijacking and are bordering unhealthy.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m still having trouble getting a handle on the definition of “hijacking” used in your recent message.

        Perhaps you could briefly model the appropriate behavior so I can see where he/she has gone wrong. If MediaHound disagreed with you and wanted to explain why he disagreed with you without hijacking, what would that look like?

        I’m looking to engage in some discussion of the merits of various arguments, but I do not want to engage in hijacking if I can help it.

      • LE:
        “To Mediahound: We have repeatedly heard what you have say and it’s pretty clear that you have an agenda here, and one that is not in the interests of trafficked children. Don’t twist my article to promote your agenda, which gets sketchier with every post. Your posts have exceeded hijacking and are bordering unhealthy.”

        LE I know you were responding to MH, but I can’t help throwing my 2 cents in.
        I don’t understand why you find it so threatening for critics to ask for valid data that proves your assumptions.
        While each and every story of a sex-trafficked child is tragic, the size of the problem is imperative to find in order to correctly find solutions (for one).

        You are beginning to sound like a zealot. Zealots make bad advocates as they can’t stomach any critics and typically try to smear their critics and claim any number of bad things about them.

        Recently in the halls of congress daddy justice was assaulted by Lisalyn R. Jacobs vice president of government relations for Legal Momentum.

        Daddy justice was trying to get in to give testimony about the reauthorization of VAWA. Many experts (like Gelles and Strauss the famous researchers who found 1 woman is abused every 14.5 seconds) are BARRED from testimony at VAWA reauthorization hearings. Why? Because they want to provide peer-reviewed evidence-based studies showing women abuse men in almost equal numbers.

        This doesn’t sit well with the zealots who don’t want to help abused men and have politicians ears. And so when their censorship is challenged, they ATTACK.

        There is a simple solution to having your questioned, release credible peer-reviewed evidence-based studies and let them lead where ever they may.

        If they show only 2500 trafficked children per year then I imagine a lot less “volunteers” and bureaucrats would be collecting a salary.

        Only liars fear the truth.

        • Here is the story of daddy justice getting assaulted for trying to break through the bad advocacy research being presented at VAWA reauthorization hearings.

          ht tp://

        • LE:
          I never mentioned legalization of prostitution

          To your questions I will answer (tongue in cheek)
          1) yes
          2) yes
          3) yes
          4) yes
          AND I eat at Mcdonalds, shoot my 5y/o with heroine, listen to country music, have a gun rack, am a racist homophobe, lynch black people, and have 4 big gas-guzzling SUV’s and have the carbon footprint of 500 average people.

          Oh, and I have a dog-fighting kennel.
          Wow, you must REALLY fear the truth. You’re just throwing anything against the wall to see what sticks aren’t you?

          If I question your cooked numbers then I must be a child trafficker or client? Really? That’s the best you can come up with?

          Whatever derails the debate from your lack of proof right?

          • John D, your refusal to answer these pertinent questions nullifies your shrill cries about accountability. You obviously seem to have a vested interest in this subject and have a real lack of transparency there.

            This article is not about the numbers of children in trafficking. You can find those articles elsewhere. This article is about how children are coerced into trafficking, why they can’t escape and how they become so lost in our expansive country.

        • What do you hope to prove by asking these questions of the commenters, LE? They’re asking for your sources, not your CORI.

      • John Schtoll says:

        Wow, you accused MediaHound of having an agenda. that is rich, really rich.

        I guess it is true, some people just never let facts get in the way of a good story.

    • Erin says:
      “At the end of the day, I don’t care if this happens to 1 girl or 1 million children.”

      It may not matter to each individual child. I will agree that every single instance of it happening is awful and SHOULDN’T happen, and if possible should be stopped.

      But considering how much more we have on our plate (like homelessness for one), it isn’t reasonable to just “roll along” and to ignore the shoddy research methods and treat a 1000 or 2500 child problem like it is a 300k child problem.

      What if I told you that credible peer-reviewed studies said there is about 10 (yes ten) sex trafficked children in the USA, and I was going to spend $10 billion dollars to find them?

      Is that reasonable? With unemployment over 12%? That’s money that could be spent keeping kids off the streets and away from gangs, feeding the homeless, tutoring kids, etc….

      A call for honesty is not a dismissal of the children’s suffering. We’re asking for some honesty. If people are afraid of the truth that raises flags, to my mind.

      • Who do you think you are kidding? says:

        You haven’t provided anything that is a credible peer-reviewed study that is not a problem.

        Why? People aren’t funding these studies. People are not interested in dealing with squicky problems that make them depressed or sad. Doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

        You have not proven that this situation is a 10 kid, 10 million dollar scenario. Not in the least.

        Look at this video. It’s made by Brian Bates, video vigilante. He saw a problem in his community and did what he could to stop it. He took a video tape and goes to the south side of Oklahoma and in broad daylight easily finds examples of children being trafficked, records it, and calls the police. (The police OUGHT to be riding with him).

        or this one:

        The fact that he can just go out on any day and find these kids at truck stops and streets shows that this is not a minimal problem. Also, in Oklahoma city? This is not NYC or LA… it’s HEARTLAND America.

  16. Eisenmenger: …it’s estimated that 293,000 children in the USA could be trafficked, with the vast majority being girls..


    It is NOT true that the VAST majority are girls… Please study the link above, however trafficking of boys is underreported.

    Some text of this study:
    The traditional narrative obscures the plight of male victims, especially male
    children. For instance, the sex trafficking of young boys feeds the high demand for
    child pornography in the United States, more than half of which features boys
    rather than girls.27 In much of this pornographic material, the boys are subjected to
    various forms of sadism or masochism, including bondage, rape, or torture.28
    Recent arrests of child pornographers and sex traffickers highlight this disturbing,
    but underpublicized, trend in the United States.

  17. Let me explain where my skepticism is coming from. Perhaps I am being a little knee-jerk here, but you see I feel like I’ve been burned before by some very similar crusades against exploitation. I have a long memory when it comes to worthy causes.

    When I was a young, impressionable undergraduate in the early 1990’s, when my critical reasoning skills were woefully underdeveloped, I was very moved by a workshop organized by K. McKinnon showing the horrible ways that pornography exploits women. I was convinced that there really were thousands of women being kidnapped, raped, and murdered every year to produce “snuff films.” (If anyone reading this doesn’t know what those are, I hope you wonder why you’ve never heard of them, and maybe that’s a clue.) Apparently, organized crime groups all over the country and the world were making lots of money, and these movies were selling like hotcakes.

    Well, it turns out that these films probably do exist and did exist somewhere out there, but damned if anyone can locate one or have enough evidence to press charges against anyone buying or selling or making them. Somehow this enormously profitable market is simultaneously ubiquitous and completely underground. And the crusade to end this undeniably, unquestionably horrible thing has largely evaporated as far as I can tell. I can’t imagine that such a revenue generator would ever disappear on its own.

    I still don’t think what I call the snuff film hysteria was a product of some cynical conspiracy. I think much of it was sincere, grassroots enthusiasm to fight something clearly evil, something that many people wanted or needed to believe existed.

    Some years later, enter the crusade to end child sexual slavery. Admittedly, this campaign is generally led by different groups of people than the former was, but it sounds so damn eerily familiar to my jaded ears. I can’t help but wonder if these shadowy men are the same ones who were supposed to have produced all those snuff films in the 1980’s. Perhaps it’s their sons or grandsons taking up the family business?

    As for a source I found useful: a few months ago The Seattle Weekly ran several articles in a row tracing the source of the “300,000” figure. Now, it should be pointed out, and SW fully disclosed this in its own articles, that the Seattle Weekly is part of the Village Voice media group, and it also runs adult ads in the back of the paper. It does have an economic and legal stake in the debate about the statistics, so naturally it has some incentive to downplay the numbers. On the whole, though, I found the analysis quite compelling and worth a look, and its sources seem to be independent and verifiable. I don’t have the citation readily available, but the SW has online archives and online searches, and there is likely something google-able, if that’s a word.

    • To Anonymous: Please allow me to redirect you to JW’s comment: Should these trafficked minors be referred to as “sex slaves.”

      and Part 2) If they are slaves, are they entitled to some kind of restitution?

    • Who do you think you are kidding? says:

      Anon, you’re a liar. You did not take a course or workshop with K.MacKinnon…Why? Because there is no K. MacKinnon… at least not one that has national recognition as a leader in this field.

      There is a CATHERINE MacKinnon. And if you were actually in the course you would’ve known that as her name is actually pretty famous… but you don’t you just heard it repeated on some Abuser Lobby website and conveniently as Anon you repeat it here incorrectly… not providing any proof you attended any such workshop but rather repeat MRA urban legend about what her studies revealed.

      Your screed is the MRA version of a chain letter. Exactly like the mass emails that go around warning about ankle slashers hiding under cars… It always ‘happened to my cousin.’ But it’s never the truth.

      Then you cite an extremely bias article without even providing the link… pushed from a newspaper weekly that has come under heat for providing the means to traffick and/or sell prostitution.

  18. To Anonymous: People hijack threads all the time – lol, it happens in every subject and leaves writers clawing at their monitor. Something in a story strikes a reader’s fancy and they strongly argue a slightly off-topic point, then the next commentator responds to that, taking it completely off topic usually with controversial or false information and then all the commenters flock off in that direction, over the hills and far away.

    In a way, this thread has been “hijacked” by the back and forth about statistical accuracy. I know readers and when they see long comments filled with numbers instead of personal reaction, the vast majority click out. There’s something about numbers that perhaps unjustifiably preempts the human experience, so if you’re not an expert with numbers you seem to lack the credentials to participate in that discussion, which is obviously not true. There’s a lot here for discussion that’s greater than numbers.

    To JW: I think the children could be referred to as “sex slaves,” and though it would be controversial, the differences and similarities are worthy of discussion.

    To Nicole: Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and particularly this thought:
    “I can’t help but think that all this quibbling over numbers is done by those who care far more about the liberty of those who wish to buy and sell sex freely, instead of the number of real children who are being exploited. Liberty of those to choose is important, but liberty for those in literal slavery in my opinion is a far greater priority.”

    • “To Anonymous: People hijack threads all the time – lol, it happens in every subject and leaves writers clawing at their monitor. Something in a story strikes a reader’s fancy and they strongly argue a slightly off-topic point, then the next commentator responds to that, taking it completely off topic usually with controversial or false information and then all the commenters flock off in that direction, over the hills and far away.”

      My goodness, that’s a depressing vision of the reading public. We’re easily sidetracked, enticed by sparkly things, and then follow lemming-like behind the most charismatic Pied Piper. (Sorry, mixed rodent metaphor there.) If that’s true, it makes me wonder what the point is in engaging with the unwashed masses.

      • To Anonymous: It’s just the nature of comments. People are passionate about their interests. In this case, statistical discussion disproportionately overshadowed the thread. It’s not off-track per se, but other issues here dwarf data collection.

  19. Nicole

    You make some harts felt points – but also there are some assumptions in there about other people, their intentions and even their knowledge.

    Personally – I have been on the streets like Erika Clark working directly with those kids. I know how brave she is and how hard it is.

    I also know just how vital accurate information is, and how mythology about those kids can get in the way.

    Recently it has been published all over the world that there is a massive increase in Child prostitution and trafficking in the USA – the figures are bogus! They have been generated by Junk Science and have been used to rob these children blind. Thats Right The children are being robbed.

    Do you know how those phantom figures are being generated – the supposed science behind them? It’s a private company, Schapiro Group, an Atlanta business-consulting operation, who came up with the idea that if you look at photographs a group can decide if that photo displayed on the net at CRAIGSLIST means a person is under 18 years of age! That is how they came up with figures claiming child prostitution on Minnesota had jumped by 64.7 percent. There are now apparently now more under age prostitutes in Minnesota than all other crime statistics combined.

    I believe that the full story and all details have been in the media since March this year.

    So many groups are now using these bogus figures to take tax dollars and run organizations that serves a fictional problem. That’s hundreds of millions in tax dollars – and those dollars, and the help and support they can buy for the real kids, are just not going where they belong.

    I’d love to hear the answers to the questions you have asked of Erika – but I would ask a few of my own, concerning the funding she could use and how it would be used. I would also ask how she feels when she sees millions of dollars being given away for fictions and how she would use those same dollars to make a real difference and how to the kids she deals with.

    I am very unhappy with the exploitation of children – and I am most unhappy with people who have deliberately and purposefully created a fictional problem using vulnerable children to gain political access, funding and standing and a great deal of media – and all on the backs of Real Abused Children who they have hidden behind a fiction that only serves to the Money Abusers self interests.

    One sobering question – of all the organizations that have gone after Tax Dollars to supposedly rescue these endangers children – how many have actually put in place emergency accommodation and support systems so if they find a child who wants to get off the streets immediately – that child has a place to go?

    Have a look at Atlanta – the supposed largest child trafficking and prostitution center in the US – and ask the Tax Dollar Funded Organizations supposedly looking out for these kids how many beds they have available tonight?

    I can give you the answer! It’s less than one!

    If the problem is so big why are they not ready after so many years and so much money?

    Where have all those tax Dollars gone – and why is it the the DOJ are still pushing figures from 2008 which are from people on the streets talking to the child prostitutes – hearing their voices and needs and false figures are still being peddled out in front of congress by the organizations that are still peddling Junk Science figures?

    Why is it that Law Enforcement figures don’t agree with the Claims of hundreds of Thousands of American Girls being trafficked and held in prostitution – and why do the number of missing persons figures not come anywhere near those figures?

    Why is the DOJ paying for the research done in NY and published in 2008 to be replicated in more and more US cities – and in the mean time why are the fictional junk science figures going up and up in front of congress with celebrities even being brought in to recite them?

    I believe that some people’s free lunch is coming to an end – and when the table is cleared I hope that people like Erika can finally take a seat, and even have the chance to invite her clients to take a seat too.

    I’m sorry for your personal experience, and what I have said in no way diminishes it or the impact upon you. It also does not diminish a single child who is abused, trafficked forced into prostitution either.

    But you will have to forgive me if I see myself as a good man and I’m unhappy and angry that others are abusing the situation and not for the child’s best interests.

    • Mediahound, I am still slightly reeling over what appears to be a condescending attitude towards me, so I may not be as polite as usual.

      You claim to have been in the trenches and are aware that there are children in the sex trade, yet later you refer to it as a “fictional” problem. Which is it, fictional or not?

      Where is your proof of a cabal of NPOs abusing government funds, and short changing actual victims?

      Where are the actual legal charges, and legal ramifications from misusing government funds? NPOs open their books when they ask for government funds, so where are the news reports of leaders of NPOs who have misappropriated funds?

      I’m not saying there are NPOs and companies using faulty studies to get money, but the side which is trying to paint the picture as non-existent or minimal is not without a profit motive either, but the problem of youth in the sex trade is NOT fictional.

      When you used the term “junk science”, I must first ask, which junk science? The junk science used by the tobacco lobby, or the junk science used by anti-vaccine groups? Junk Science is a loaded term frequently used by those who have an ideological view point from which they will not waver, and wish to convert others. There are studies with severe errors in the method in which they gathered information, and there are studies which incorrectly extrapolate a result from data which is not relevant, and there are studies that are fraudulent and cherry pick data in order to prove a preexisting viewpoint – this does not mean that data doesn’t exist, and the problem is “fictional”. The problem MAY be exaggerated, and it MAY even be exaggerated greatly, but it exists.

      This sort of arguing, accusing and ignoring of issues reminds me of the ideological debates that take place around global warming which have nothing to do with facts, statistics and everything to do with politics.

  20. LE, thanks for writing this article.

    Firstly, this issue touches me personally, I was a teen runaway and although I did not engage in prostitution, I did engage in survival sex on the streets more than once. I counted among my friends many prostitutes, and I was friends with girls who started working as young as 11 in order to survive. I know many of the issues that exist with trying to track down & count street kids are doubly so for underage prostitution.

    Also I know how many girls I knew who worked when underage, so I tend to get emotional when I feel like people are saying this is a non-existent problem, because I see a number of faces instead of numbers.

    I’m not saying that no woman or man works in sex trade willingly, in fact I still know people who do, even if it is just from time to time that I talk to them, or get a facebook message, or read an email from them. They are my friends, and they should have a right to make money despite what some people think of the morality of that. For those who wish to work in the sex trade, and those who have no other skills, and choose it non the less, they should have the choice, and the sex trade should be legal, safe and regulated.

    But every time an article addresses the existence of children in the sex trade, there are those who will come out of the woodwork and argue that the statistics are wrong and the numbers of actual kids in the sex trade are so low as to be non-existent.

    I find it rude, dismissive, and selfish for every article about the exploitation of youth to be countered with people who do not acknowledge the issue, and only troll with their own favored statistics.

    Whether the numbers are 20% of all prostitutes or 2% is not the issue at all, the issue is that there are girls and boys in the sex trade.

    I can’t help but think that all this quibbling over numbers is done by those who care far more about the liberty of those who wish to buy and sell sex freely, instead of the number of real children who are being exploited. Liberty of those to choose is important, but liberty for those in literal slavery in my opinion is a far greater priority.

    When hearing them quibble over numbers, all I wonder if what number, what percentage of all sex workers, if found to be children is enough to make the sex trade in children and the exploitation of children an issue?

    What number of children in sexual slavery becomes important enough for you to acknowledge?

    How many of dead, HIV+, and messed up children need to exist before you recognize only one?

    Real research must be done in to how many exploited youth exist, by those who are not just outsiders and academics, but those who know how to break inside of that seedy underbelly and get those real numbers. This number may not be as high as the number of at risk quoted in the disputed studies, it may only be in the thousands in all the USA, it could be higher, it could be lower – but it is not zero.

    While this number is being researched, how about asking questions and learning about the problem?

    What, for example are the number of youth Erika Clark meets per week on the streets? How many pass through the agency per year?

    What sort of solutions does she favour? For example does she favour legalization of the sex trade, in order to remove focus from victimless crimes to ones cases where there are issues with age and/or force?

  21. superstarjackie says:

    The only way this will ever stop is if men get a conscience and stop paying for it ,also important here is to realize the danger of porn.

    • What an incredibly helpful comment. According to Jackie- men, in general, lack a consience. You certainly live up to the “superstar” moniker.

  22. Hi. As the author of “Child Sex Trafficking in the USA: Up Close and Personal,” I appreciate all the experts contributing their data on this issue. It’s very important and you are special people. However, I selected Good Men Project as a venue because I wanted this story to reach a wide variety of people and to hear their response, however simple or contrary. I had a vast selection of formal sites on which I could have published.

    If we could, I’d really like to hear the impressions of readers, not experts. I am not an expert in this area. I’m a journalist specializing in other genres, but I verified this story, even more closely than usual, because I’m not an expert in the field.

    This story sat on my desktop for months, it haunted me. I didn’t know what to do with it. The law never suffices. I’d rather hear from the keyboards of readers who wandered into this story.

    • LE- I understand your call for more impressions….this topic is dear to my heart and your article still managed to shock me in parts of it- that we humans do this to one another is incomprehensible to me.
      Thanks for being brave enough to submit it here; as you can see, it hits some raw nerves. Would love to read more of your work on GMP!

  23. I really hope your organization doesn’t use that terrible “Hands That Heal” curriculum as shown in this video:

    • My dear FW

      I have heard of the issue, but not seen the content until now. What was highlighted and illustrated was disturbing – but pausing the video and looking at all content was even more disturbing.

      It takes quite a bit to shock me, but that video succeeded. The last section on role play is more than disturbing – and in fact If I was ever to personally see it being used I would intervene without reservation and stop it! It is more than abusive – it actually meets the international definition of torture!

      Heaven save us all from dangerous zealots.

  24. Stephanie says:

    I read as much as I can about this topic and I have to say this was incredibly helpful and informative.

  25. I would encourage in your next article to not refer to sex slaves as prostitutes, they are slaves; the pimps get their money not them.

  26. Fighting against sex trafficking is a noble enterprise. But, what I hate is these advocates tendency to VASTLY overstate the nature of the problem due to their zealotry to end the problem.

    To interject some common sense here are some citations showing that governments typicaly vastly over-state the prevalence of human sex trafficking (of women and girls) as a call to increase their budgets.
    ht tp://

    The largest ever crack-down on sex trafficking in the UK failed to find one case. This despite any woman in the sex trade who claims to be forcefully trafficked will get a fast-track to citizenship and a hefty pay-out from victim’s compensation funds.

    ht tp:// m

    This is a study based on interviews with 100 foreign women in the sex industry in the UK. Per the research a tiny minority feel coerced. Many decided to enter the sex trade after other jobs. They decided that it was the best way to make money for un-skilled labor, best way to travel and see the country, meet new people, and had much better life and work accomodations (and less exploitation) than in other unskilled labor.

    The author also states that due to the upcoming world cup in Africa and resultant crack-down on potential upcoming sex trafficking, authorities and government are actually preventing the free movement of young women. In other words, this is actually used as an excuse to invade into peoples lives who aren’t even in sex trafficking and never have been.

    ht tp:// m

    Here is an interviewer calling government to task (in the UK) and saying that the over-blown hype regarding sex trafficking are outright fraudulent.

    ht tp:// ml

    Here is a wash post article regarding the failure of the UK crack-down to find 1 case of sex trafficking.

    ht tp://

    Here is a link on the 2006 German world cup crack-down on sex trafficking. Early estimates by feminist organizations stated 40,000 to 100k foreign women would be sex-trafficked to Germany for the world cup.
    Utilizing 100′s of 1000′s of police man-hours an incredible 5 cases were found.

    Governments know that the #1 way to grow their budgets is to be seen to be working to protect women and children.
    Sex trafficking is a boogeyman for government bureaucrats to use to grow their budgets.
    What the WHO and other international studies DO show however is that the vast majority of human trafficking is not for sex, but for forced labor. The vast majority of these are men and boys, not girls.

    All victims of human trafficking deserve help. We shouldn’t turn this into a gender issue, where none exists. It doesn’t make sense to issue more and more governmental resources on a very tiny problem, and ignore thousands of forced labor victims because the “wrong” kind of civil rights abuses is happening (and to the “wrong” gender).

  27. Thank you, LE for focusing a spotlight on such a critical issue. Some weeks ago when I reported here about a protest to end the trafficking enabled by NYC’s Village Voice classified section, my comment thread was hijacked by prostitutes who were prostitutes by choice and they were infuriated, tearing apart our (very legit) stats on trafficking, and by repeatedly plastering the thread with claims that we who spoke out against trafficking were nothing but moral panickers, puritans, etc. with an agenda to wipe out prostitution because we’re all so sexually repressed in America. I have long ago pledged not to argue with naysayers on highly important issues like this and I did not argue with them there. Anyone who denies the deeply embedded sickness that selling young people into sexual slavery truly is, just saddens me almost as much as the fact that this kind of slavery exists to begin with. In almost 2012, no less.

    Today, reading this (and watching CNN’s Freedom Project, highly recommended, about the global sex trafficking trade) I am newly encouraged to continue in my own efforts to bring attention to this crisis.
    At my company, we are currently researching which non-profits like Polaris Project and GEMS (which offer Safehouses and hotlines in many different languages to report trafficking/ traffickers) we are going to donate a percentage of our profits to. These agencies are doing tremendous work and so are you and Clark. Thank you for exposing this issue yet again. We NEED to keep this in front of people, and I’m especially grateful you reminded us about slavery that was legal here, not so long ago. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.
    And yes, let’s stop co-opting language that glamorizes the pimp or that lifestyle; it belies colossal ignorance of the very real human tragedies that trafficking occasions.

    • Anonymous says:

      In response to Lili Bee’s message of Dec. 5 at 1:44pm:

      What I hear you saying is that some critics of the anti-trafficking movement have been unfair in their response to your messages. I hear you saying that they may be branding you unfairly as sexually repressed and they may be protesting too much for people who are innocent.

      But, I can’t help but notice that your response here seems quite strident and to my mind does not give much credence to your point of view. I am not attempting to silence you, and I welcome your input.

      It’s unclear to me how anyone could “hijack” a discussion on a fairly wide-open blog discussion. Perhaps their messages outnumbered yours and they wrote more often than you did, but it’s not a competition for a microphone.

      If the statistics were well-supported by good evidence and methodology, it would not be possible to tear them to shreds. If you are saying that your critics have left your statistics in tatters, what does that suggest about the original statistics?

      Saying you will not debate naysayers sounds like you will no longer entertain any questions or criticism about your approach to this problem. That sounds a lot like holding onto an orthodoxy, not a search for truth. It sounds to me like a faith-based approach, “just knowing” that the epidemic is real, no matter how much people may question it.

      It is perfectly valid to question the motives of sex workers when they criticize attempts to limit the sex trade. The Village Voice papers stand to lose some important advertising revenue. They both have an economic incentive to de-emphasize the extent of the problem. But, by the same token, non-profit groups have economic incentives that could influence their presentation of the problem. The bigger the sense of the epidemic, the more attention some groups can get, the more likelihood of government funding. A group of people does not have to be greedy to use inflated numbers. Some people inflate numbers for perfectly noble reasons. That does not make it any better.

      The Village Voice and its affiliated papers questioned, for example, the origin of the “300,000 children” figure often quoted by one of the groups trying to stop the papers’ backpages adverts for sexual services. It turns out that the number refers to a vague estimate of the number of children “at risk” to become sex slaves or prostitutes. That “at risk” figure includes any child who has run away from home, even if the child is gone for a few hours, any teenager who is truant from school, and any teenager busted for drug possession. That way of calculating the stats seems to naturally inflate the numbers beyond the real number of enslaved people.

      • @ Anonymous: You said: “It’s unclear to me how anyone could “hijack” a discussion on a fairly wide-open blog discussion. Perhaps their messages outnumbered yours and they wrote more often than you did, but it’s not a competition for a microphone.”
        Just FYI, it wasn’t a question of their comments outnumbering my own since I posted once only and made my intention clear in that regard. The issue is dominance, as when agenda pushers wallpaper a comment thread relentlessly. As an article writer, it’s most interesting to see various points of view be presented and discussed without a comment thread being taken over by an agenda-pusher, which is actually against commenting policy here.
        A discussion gets hijacked when a commenter makes a point or presents their ideology over and over again and continually attacks (not questions) the ideology of the author or attacks the author outright. If someone new comes onto the comment thread with an opinion other than their own, they are often trounced by the ‘dominator’. Of course, anyone who spends any amount of time surfing comment threads begins to see patterns emerge and it was this pattern that I was calling out.
        You said, “If the statistics were well-supported by good evidence and methodology, it would not be possible to tear them to shreds. If you are saying that your critics have left your statistics in tatters, what does that suggest about the original statistics?”
        What it suggests is that the statistics don’t align well with the purviews of those with the pro-Village Voice agenda. No one was able to tear my stats to shreds successfully because we are, after all, speaking about the FBI’s and the other government stats that are publicly available, unless you’re comfortable implying that even those are questionable. The New York Times is also meticulous in their fact-checking dept. But that doesn’t stop detractors from trying to discredit the sources given because again, they don’t support the goals of the detractors. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, the readers can decide for themselves which set of references they choose to believe. Can you please post references to back up the claim that the number of trafficked US children (300,000) has been arrived at through shoddy methodology?
        You said, “Saying you will not debate naysayers sounds like you will no longer entertain any questions or criticism about your approach to this problem. That sounds a lot like holding onto an orthodoxy, not a search for truth. It sounds to me like a faith-based approach, “just knowing” that the epidemic is real, no matter how much people may question it.”
        Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough: when one writes an article, one retains the right not to engage in the comment thread. If you look at the writers whose work is always in the Most Popular column on this site, they almost never comment on their own articles. I, myself, tend to prefer spending time writing new articles and I write for other venues as well, so there’s limited time for engaging with commenters. That’s one aspect. And…
        Many things exist which are not yet substantiated by the kind of data that would be universally agreed upon on as being absolutely unassailable. Often that’s a function of politics or of lack of funding for research and doesn’t necessarily portend to the issue in question being patently “a myth”. But that in and of itself doesn’t suggest to me that someone with a strong degree of conviction on such a topic is necessarily subscribing to orthodoxy.
        There are, for example, people who don’t believe the holocaust ever happened. That, despite all the evidence in existence, evidence they call “a conspiracy”.
        That this denial of the holocaust is deeply disturbing to those who actually survived it doesn’t deter the conspiracy theorists one bit. But does the tenacity of the conspiracy theorists impel the survivors to engage in discussions with the dissenters? Of course not!
        Writing on far less weighty but still significant (and contentious) topics such as pornography does not impel me to engage in discussions after the fact of posting my articles. I have arrived at enough conviction about my observations that I write about those observations, a trend, a disturbing pattern I’m noticing or whatever it is; as such, I feel no need to enter into debates on the comment thread. It’s there for the readers to have a discussion amongst themselves.
        And ultimately, a reader needs to remember that GMP is hosting opinion pieces; this is not, after all, Scientific American. So if a reader sees an article they disagree with, it might be helpful to remember, at the end of the day it still just reflects the opinion of a contributor. Arguing relentlessly on the merits or demerits of particular data strikes me as quite out of place, then. And again, that’s my opinion; thanks for clarifying yours.

        • Lili Bee asks:
          “Can you please post references to back up the claim that the number of trafficked US children (300,000) has been arrived at through shoddy methodology?”

          ht tp://

          This article states that the study showing 100k to 300k sex-trafficked children in the USA is:
          A) not authoritative
          B) not peer reviewed and
          C) when pressed for their methodology, the authors admitted it was not children sex-trafficked but those “at risk” of becoming caught up in forced sex trafficking.

          Quoted from David Finkelhor director of Crimes against children research center:
          “As far as I’m concerned, [the University of Pennsylvania study] has no scientific credibility to it,” he says. “That figure was in a report that was never really subjected to any kind of peer review. It wasn’t published in any scientific journal.”

          Rigorous peer review, as is required for most scientific publishing, could have really helped the study, he says.

          “Initially, [Estes and Weiner] claimed that [100,000 to 300,000] was the number of children [engaged in prostitution]. It took quite a bit of pressure to get them to add the qualifier [at risk],” he says.

          Professor Steve Doig, Knight Chair of Journalism at Arizona State University, said the “study cannot be relied upon as authoritative.”

          As for the supposed number of children being exploited as prostitutes, Doig says, “I do not see the evidence necessary to confirm that there are hundreds of thousands of them.”

          Doig, who specializes in the analysis of quantitative methodology, was contracted by Village Voice Media to examine the science behind the Estes and Weiner study.

          “Many of the numbers and assumptions in these charts are based on earlier, smaller-scale studies done by other researchers, studies which have their own methodological limitations. I won’t call it ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ But combining various approximations and guesstimates done under a variety of conditions doesn’t magically produce a solid number. The resulting number is no better than the fuzziest part of the equation.”


          You equate your critics to those denying the holocast. Before you can do that you have to do something that happened during the holocaust: you have to provide incontrivertable proof of your evidence. According to this article the number of sex-trafficked children is around 800 or so, not 300k. That’s a difference 400 fold.

          Hitler has a quote that says (roughly) “the state must always seem to be working for the benefits of the child. People will endure any injustice if they believe it to be for the benefit of children.”

          I understand you’re fighting for a just cause, but many of these people involved with the anti-sex trafficking crusade (not only want to spend millions of dollars but) want to engage in anti-sex activity laws (of any kind) of teens even equal age sex. They are also involved in anti-porn campaigns. This is discussed on page 4 of my linked article.

          In other words they want to use childrens rights as a club to tell other americans how to live their lives and monitor and control legal activity.

          There is a saying that I see coming more and more relevant as time goes on:

          “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    • Lili said: ” Thank you, LE for focusing a spotlight on such a critical issue. Some weeks ago when I reported here about a protest to end the trafficking enabled by NYC’s Village Voice classified section, my comment thread was hijacked by prostitutes who were prostitutes by choice and they were infuriated, tearing apart our (very legit) stats on trafficking, and by repeatedly plastering the thread with claims that we who spoke out against trafficking were nothing but moral panickers, puritans, etc. with an agenda to wipe out prostitution because we’re all so sexually repressed in America. I have long ago pledged not to argue with naysayers on highly important issues like this and I did not argue with them there.”

      I have to say that there was one big issue with that article around “Alicia Keys Rallied Fans: Join The Protest Against Village Voice Sex Trafficking Ads”

      A link was provided which stated “Here are some recent stats, (2010).” – and when you clicked on the link it took you to a web page on the U.S. Department of State website which reads – “We’re sorry. That page can’t be found and may have moved.”.

      I think you were referring to the 373 page report from 2010, titled – “THE 2010 TRAFFICKING IN
      PERSONS (TIP) REPORT” issued by the Dept. State?

      Which stats were you referring to? Global – National – Local?

      Here are the front end stats:

      Adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world: 12.3 million
      Successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009: 4,166
      Successful prosecutions related to forced labor: 335
      Victims identified: 49,105
      Ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified, as a percentage: 8.5
      Ratio of victims identified to estimated victims, as a percentage: 0.4
      Countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol: 62
      Countries without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportation: 104
      Prevalence of trafficking victims in the world: 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants
      Prevalence of trafficking victims in Asia and the Pacific: 3 per 1,000 inhabitants

      There is a paucity of statistics beyond these stats – and having trawled all 373 pages I have not been able to find even an estimated figure on a national or global basis for forced prostitution. There is much narrative and citation of individual cases – but very little on hard stats.

      Narratives such as this are interesting:
      “The Government of France successfully dismantled 40 trafficking rings in France in 2009 and cooperated
      to dismantle 14 international networks with bilateral partners through joint investigation teams aimed at
      investigating and prosecuting cases across borders.

      Page 150″

      Son that’s 40 rings – 14 International networks – bilateral partners – and no figures of the number of people trafficked or prevented from being trafficked – and the figures are for all trafficking and not just Forced Prostitution.

      The narrative and the paucity of stats does not even make it clear if the 40 rings were even operating in France, or if through international co-operation the French Authorities gained intelligence of activities in another country and warned those national authorities of the situation. The stats quoted did have a number of French people querying then when they were published.

      There is a reference to an estimate of the 12.3 million people trafficked globally and 1 in 10 of them – that is 1.23 million – being placed in forced prostitution – but there is no reference to the estimate and even how it has been arrived at!

      That would mean 1.23 million people (male and female) in forced prostitution – and given the global and US population it would indicate that in the USA there are some 55000 people in the US today in enforced prostitution – a figure that even the State Dept don’t agree with.

      That’s the figure you get when you do the math when you use the 1 in 10 guesstimate. It’s very near the figures being quoted over 10 years ago and which prompted TIP to be introduced amidst Moral Panic.

      You state that the thread was hijacked by prostitutes – and I note that some posters have self identified that way.

      I was struck by one comment:

      ” How ridiculous it is for people completely outside of the sex industry to think they’re more qualified to talk about “trafficking” than sex workers simply because they’ve eagerly consumed every prohibitionist faulty statistic. Sex workers can be (and are) concerned citizens too—why are our voices illegitimate? All sex workers, including those who want to continue working, are impacted by these narratives and policies. Why is that inconsequential? Why do we not matter? Not even when we say we’re victims are we allowed our own voices–it’s always about someone else speaking for us.”

      Given that the stats being generated and used are questionable, I can understand the concerns that people have when others speak for them. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics come to mind.

      I do sense passion towards the subject, but as with all things passion needs to be tempered by the ability to listen to others and different voices. Those can also be the voices of the group supposedly to be helped. They all too often have wisdom and experience of their own – and it may not be the right time for them to be helped – and they may in fact need no help at all!

      Misrepresenting matters also does real damage to the people such as Lisa who are dealing with the sharp end on the streets. Victims have to fight hard enough for recognition and respect with the help of people like Lisa and without bearing an inhuman weight of bad stats and guesstimates which do not educate but actually hide the real human stories.

  28. GirlGlad4theGMP says:

    Wait a tic…one study does not a fair assessment make.
    ESPECIALLY when the sample of interviewees are not likely the ones to be trafficked. Male and female traffickees are not the ones being spoken to, because they usually cannot get away in order to give interviews, and are worried about law enforcement, angering their pimps, etc.

    YES, there are a fair amount of sex workers who are in the profession by choice, but this article clearly is not speaking to that. Remember, we are also talking about children as victims of trafficking, and whether or not a child can rationally provide consent. For a country with such stringent “Statuatory” law, I would expect this issue to be provided more support.

    • GirlGlad4theGMP – sorry if you were troubled by my clarification of Ron’s point. The studies mentioned were only for Adults – the ethics of the study would not allow the interview of children, as statutory report on Safe-Guarding would have to be made. Endangerment of the children would be an issue. The figures quoted at 4 or 6% are for adults and not children. There are very few published figures for children.

      For clarity – in the UK child trafficking issues are handled very differently and reported differently to protect the children. The best sources of information are via the charity Barnado’s – who work with a wide range of children – including those at risk. They have been addressing the issue of child exploitation and trafficking for over 16 years through a rolling program of research.

      The latest findings were published January 2011 “Puppet on a string – The urgent need to cut children free from sexual exploitation.”.

      There are multiple reports over the last 16 years – which is useful as they provide a Biography.

      The 2011 report indiactes that Barnado’s were aware of some 95 – 97 children being exploited and trafficked for exploitation in the last 2 years. The term Trafficked has a very different meaning within the UK compared to other countries. The report only deals with children being moved about within UK borders and not trafficked into or out of the UK.

      Under UK law a child can’t consent to being trafficked – and the age of sexual consent at 16 is not a bar to what would be Statutory Rape in the USA. This does raise issues around securing evidence, and also children self identifying as exploited and at risk.

      It’s worth noting that as the UK is an island – and law in generally equal through out all four countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ulster, there are NOT the same legal issues and loopholes that exist in the USA on a state by state basis. There are Politically and Socially different demographics at play.

      There are different issues at play due to the immigrant population in the UK, due to migration from the Common Wealth over the last 50 years. Early age language and social barriers as well as general cultural barriers can make it difficult to impossible to verify situations within certain minorities. There have been a number of high profile cases and prosecutions which are informing change. Targeting outside of the perps ethnic group is an issue.

      There is one thread in common between the USA and UK – and that is how exploitation and trafficking is becoming more sophisticated to avoid detection – and also how children are drawn in. The situation is more reactionary that Proactive, as too many people in authority lack imagination.

      That was seen in the UK back in the 1990’s . Grooming was occurring via the net, but there was no legal system to address it, and as so many in government lacked the imagination to recognize what was happening – the abusers shifted modus operandi very quickly, just as is seen in all criminal activity. It took tragedy and one hell of a lot of evidence to get the UK Government to sit up – take notice and act! The same applies to the USA – in fact most governments on a global basis.

    • Yes, precisely. No one is “polling” many (or any) of the actual trafficked girls (and boys) which totally skews the data that gets presented by those who want to denounce the seriousness of this issue.
      Here in NYC with an immense illegal immigrant population who are trafficked, the mere sight of anyone coming to ask these girls questions makes them put on a game face and “play the game” if in fact they even allow themselves to be talked to. Mostly they do their best NOT to be seen or talked to, and certainly those who are harboring and exploiting them also do their best to NOT allow access by authorities. These girls are terrified of not only their pimps, but of the threats made against their families, too and of illegally being in a foreign country where they don’t even speak the language. I work with plenty of sex addicts in recovery whose addictions were based on frequenting “massage parlors” here and with almost no exception, the girls did not speak English and were so young as to beg the question of “legal age”. Sad realities.

      • Lili said “Yes, precisely. No one is “polling” many (or any) of the actual trafficked girls (and boys) which totally skews the data that gets presented by those who want to denounce the seriousness of this issue.”

        That is not correct on many fronts. There are a number of organizations that work directly with sex workers – and which are run and managed by sex workers – such as the x:talk project. These women are not fools and have a great deal of experience of being a prostitute, the world of prostitution and exactly what goes on. So are you of the view that such experts in their own lives lack the capacity to see – hear – and recognize what is happening around them?

        Where there have been issues of ethnic diversity and language barriers – in the UK at least – elders within such communities have been recruited to investigate and act…. and they do!

        I do know of one case that had UK police in a flap. They were led to believe that there was a serious serial child exploitation issue. Upon investigation it was uncovered that there was a single child abuse case involved. A lesson was learned – and that was “Too Many Cooks Conflate The Broth”.

        It does not reduce the seriousness of the child abuse that did occur, but it did force many organizations to make sure that in future they reported only facts and not speculation that led to conflation. It’s called intelligence led innervation and law enforcement. People who add tit bits on the side not only cause conflation – they also endanger people, particularly children, who are not know about.

        One thing that intelligence led innervation and law enforcement has shown is that making things bigger than they really are allows perps to change Modus Operandi and make it harder to catch them.

        The issues are real and even highly important – but saying that people are not able to reach out and that others denounce the seriousness of the issue is well off the mark!

        Lisa is one hell of a lady for the works she does – don’t make her task harder than it already is!

        • @Mediahound: “That is not correct on many fronts. There are a number of organizations that work directly with sex workers – and which are run and managed by sex workers – such as the x:talk project. These women are not fools and have a great deal of experience of being a prostitute, the world of prostitution and exactly what goes on. So are you of the view that such experts in their own lives lack the capacity to see – hear – and recognize what is happening around them? Where there have been issues of ethnic diversity and language barriers – in the UK at least – elders within such communities have been recruited to investigate and act…. and they do!”
          I am not referring to prostitutes here in NYC who are doing that by choice. I was discussing trafficked non-English speaking girls who work in our city’s ‘massage parlors’ and apartments in certain areas. Do I think prostitutes doing that work by choice, who ARE legal in their country (like the UK, for example) and who CAN speak the language know what goes on in the off-the-radar spots that traffickers tend to have their apartments with illegal girls working in them? No, I do not.
          Nor do I think it’s because they are “fools”. They don’t know because the two worlds are NOT the same. Just as in the article above, most people tend to think of trafficked girls as Southeast Asian, not American girls who are loyal to some pimp for a little bit of “love” are actually trafficked. Choice can be a pretty highly-ramified word, obviously. But this fact of sex slavery in the big cities is not up for debate or for going to legal prostitutes for the ‘facts’ to refute the facts that actually do exist. Is there some skewing of numbers? Perhaps, but that’s on both sides. Doesn’t erase the fact that sex slavery is a scourge in our big cities here in America.

          How about we stick to our respective cities that we know about in actuality? Chinatown and Koreatown here in New York City where the massage parlors and apartments full of young illegal girls are, have exactly zero to do with the legal prostitutes who WANT to be doing that work and work out of nice apartments in the finer areas of the city. And no, the Asian elders are certainly not running interference for the trafficked, often underaged girls. Not here. I know plenty of law enforcement higher-ups who confirm the illegal activity/ where it goes on, and just how clandestinely it operates.

          And again, watch the CNN series called Freedom Project which is airing right now….a sting went down with SWAT team of hundreds, and broke up a ring of 37 “apartments” in Barcelona last month with Asian girls working inside and literally without one exception, found every girl working inside was trafficked and often underaged. They also found highly specialized and advanced credit-card and Passport forgery machines hidden away, as well as guns and often, drugs. The Passport machines and shoeboxes full of falsified passports were found, which were used to shuttle the trafficked girls from city to city, all over Europe so as to escape detection at airports. This is a very far cry from the world that legal “prostitutes by choice” who sit around blogging with their buddies live in. I’m sure they know things about their aspect of their business, but they are by no means the ultimate authority on this topic of trafficking, over and above the FBI, National Center for Exploited and Missing Children and the hundreds of human rights organizations that monitor this activity.

          • “I’m sure they know things about their aspect of their business, but they are by no means the ultimate authority on this topic of trafficking, over and above the FBI, National Center for Exploited and Missing Children and the hundreds of human rights organizations that monitor this activity.”

            I thought the approach best suited to the issue is Cooperative and not Competitive. All resources are useful – but not all even have accurate data. Read TIP 2011.

  29. A recent study in London on foreign prostitutes found that 4% were coerced.

    The narrative that the non profit trafficking industry promotes and the hard data are often conflicting and a number of articles have exposed the antics of the various trafficking fearmongers , including religious and feminists groups that are using it as a proxy to fight the consensual sex trade and and ex army run group that is keen to contract to the gov. and police services.

    • I take it that you are referring to the work of Dr Nick (Nicola) Mai – funded by the UK Government, through The Economic and Social Research Council –

      Full citation – Mai, Nicola (2009). Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry: Full Research Report
      ESRC End of Award Report, RES-062-23-0137. Swindon: ESRC

      The findings also recently featured in a event, October 2011 “In whose name? Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking”, presented from three different research angles is most interesting. It addresses all genders – and even raises the issues of how anti-trafficking laws have been misused for none trafficking policing.

      The other two reports featured were;

      1) “Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking; Human Rights Impact Assessment of anti-trafficking policy in the UK – 2010 – x:talk project”. The x:talk project is a grassroots sex worker rights network made up of people working in the sex industry and allies.

      2) Work from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Lucy Platt and Pippa Grenfell – funded by the Medical Research Council – The Sexual Health of Migrants.

      There are numerous links and resources across the net to the relevant source materials.They have also been used by The UK Government in devolving Policy, Statute and best practice across all areas of government and service provision.

      Of interest in Dr Mai’s findings from 2009:

      “The project delivered 100 semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews according to the three main axes of diversity addressed by the original proposal: gender (male, female, transgender), jobs in the sex industry and areas of origin. The sample that resulted includes 67 women, 24 men and 9 transgender people. The main areas of origin of interviewees are Eastern Europe (46, including 32 from new EU access countries), Latin America (22), EU (18, pre-2004 EU member states), followed by Asia (8) and the remaining interviewees from Australia, Jamaica and the US. Female interviewees tended to work as flat workers, independent escorts and strippers, while men and transgender people tended to work as independent escorts, with a minority of men working in flats. About 10 per cent of interviewees had non-sexual jobs; these included women working as maids and men working as card boys.”

      “Focus on sexual exploitation
      Contrary to the emphasis given in current public debates about cases of trafficking and exploitation, nine women out of a total of 67 female interviewee felt they had been subject to different forms of exploitation, amounting to approximately 13 per cent of the overall female sample. This quota includes very different perceptions and experiences of exploitation, ranging from extreme cases of trafficking to relatively more consensual arrangements. Only four women out of a total of 67 female interviewees, amounting to approximately 6 per cent of the female sample, felt that they had been deceived and forced into selling sex in circumstances in which they had no share of control or consent.”

      The study is very detailed.

      • Yes, its detailed, unlike the data that’s used by the trafficking hysteria groups.

        • Ron – Trafficking does take place, but as it’s evidence lead there is a need for sound and valid data.

          The 2011 TIP report is a case in point. The data for the USA shows that children trafficked into the USA and subjected to sexual exploitation including prostitution has a boy to girl ration of 1 to 1.37. That is identified kids from other countries brought in. They state dept make a particular point of Boys being trafficked for sex, and yet it literally never gets spoken about.

          Then you have the issue of kids arrested which is that last figures available, 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, 206 males and 643 females under 18 years of age were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That’s a ration of 1 to 4.

          It’s clear there has to be careful data collection, but also careful handing of existing data.

          Oddly the FBI data should not exist since it’s Mandatory to NOT criminalize children who may have been subjected to trafficking and or coercion. There isn’t even a proper data trail fro those 849 kids.

          Most worrying is that Children identified as trafficked have been lost within or even from the system after they have been identified and gotten out of the situation they are in. It’s not clear if the kids have ended back where they started – so that potentially adds to data errors too – potentially counting the same child twice or more. .

          Trafficking does occur, and I’m not sure I would agree with hysteria. Confusion is more like it – and even Chaos.

  30. A most interesting life story that starts to show the courage of those who reach out to so many.

    The work would be easier if The United Nations Convention On the Rights Of the Child were ratified and made law.

    “Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

    Commercial sexual exploitation of children—such as the sale of children, child prostitution, child sex tourism and child pornography—are prevalent all over the world. An estimated one million children (mainly girls but also a significant number of boys) enter the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade every year, suffering degradation and life-threatening risk.

    Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child say that governments should protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and take all measures possible to ensure that they are not abducted, sold or trafficked. ”

    The convention was drafted in 1995 – The US Government have not ratified it. The only other country which has not ratified it is Somalia.

    The reason for not ratifying? Politicians arguing over the section that means you may not execute a child for a crime as a child. It seems the wish to be able to execute a child overrides the interest of many tens of thousands and even more children to be free from Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.

    Which is better – one dead child or 2 sexually abused and trafficked?

    You can leave the politicians to decide – or you can decide for them with the ballot box. Sympathy goes only so far – but actions speak louder than words.


  1. […] Though this statement is about young girls or women, The Good Men Project reports that boys are preyed upon too; the impact on young males should not be overlooked as we seek solutions to this large and […]

  2. Anonymous says:

    […] noch eine weitere:Child Sex Trafficking in the USA: What Really Goes On by @madisonroad Also ist das Durchschnittsalter, wenn ein Kind eine Prostituierte wird, in den USA 13 Jahre. Noch […]

  3. […] internally are often from abusive homes and have stories similar to Gwen. In a very informative interview with a current staff member of an anti-trafficking organization in D.C., a look at how the […]

  4. […] more at L.E. Eisenmenger’s The Good Men Project article: Child Sex Trafficking in the USA: What Really Goes On. Rate this: Share this:SharePrintDiggEmailFacebookRedditStumbleUponTwitterLinkedInLike this:LikeBe […]

  5. […] internally are often from abusive homes and have stories similar to Gwen. In a very informative interview with a current staff member of an anti-trafficking organization in D.C., a look at how the industry […]

  6. […] life, end up being treated as sexual slaves to enrich the individuals who torture them. But all the trafficking does not start abroad. U.S. children, some as young as nine, with an average starting age of 12-14 […]

  7. […] By “challenge” I don’t necessarily mean questioning, though that’s fine. I mean putting it to the test. So meditation makes you more aware—great, you will survive this high-crime area, right? You’ve learned how to help people who feel stuck and need advice—okay, how about people starving to death? How about people who sell their kids into prostitution to buy drugs? […]

  8. […] internally are often from abusive homes and have stories similar to Gwen. In a very informative interview with a current staff member of an anti-trafficking organization in D.C., a look at how the industry […]

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