The issue of sex trafficking is global and growing. Selling and exploiting underage girls for sex generates huge profits for sex traffickers because a young girl can be sold over and over for repeat profit. She can be forced, manipulated, and coerced into appearing to be an accomplice rather than a victim. These children often fall through the cracks of our juvenile justice and social service systems because their exploitation and trauma is often invisible, misidentified, and mis-classified.
It is often believed that these children have “chosen” a life of exploitation. There could be nothing further from the truth. Studies show that 80 percent of victims of prostitution suffered sexual abuse as children—often at home—which is why they fled to the streets. Once on the streets, sex offenders and sexual predators exploit these children’s desire for love, encouragement, and shelter, deceiving, intimidating, or forcing them into prostitution.
Prostitution is not a life for a child. It is a death sentence. The average life span of a child upon entering into prostitution is less than 7 years (Source: Melissa Farley, Founding Director of the Prostitution Research and Education). Unless someone intervenes, this vulnerable population will remain lost and alone.