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With so much money, corruption and abuse, it seems as though it would be impossible to ever stop the global engine of Human/Sex Trafficking. We cannot lose hope…2 million children are at stake today and millions more to follow. Here are some steps you can take now;

Stop watching porn!

You heard me correctly, stop watching porn. Every time you click on a link to view pornographic images or videos you fuel the global Sex Trafficking economy. As people watch more and more pornography their likes become more and more deviant. Just like any addiction the same old thing doesn’t do it for you and you need to go to something different to get satisfaction. What was once considered abnormal and sexually deviant is now being considered as the new “norm.” At the Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, VA agents are tracking a noticeable spike in trends of “harder” pornography being viewed and watched. As we a people, country and planet become more desensitized to deviant sexual behavior we will also become desensitized to the sexual exploitation of children and the frequency of people trafficked will continue to sky rocket.

Get informed. Ignorance fuels the global Human/Sex Trafficking epidemic. I have attached links to many fine organizations that deal with trafficking both globally and domestically. Read the articles I referenced here to get the full force of what is truly happening in the world today. Watch documentaries and movies that have recently been produced specifically involving trafficking.

Many of you may have seen the 2009 movie “Taken” starring Liam Nesson which tells of a girl kidnapped in Paris and sold into the dark underworld of sex trafficking while her father (Nesson) goes on a rampage determined to bring her back.

Another excellent work is based on one of the articles referenced in this post called “The Girls Next Door” with the movie adaptation titled “Trade.” The movie, made in 2007, stars Kevin Kline and hits much closer to home as a 13 year old girl and 23 year old woman are trafficked from Mexico into the United States ultimately reaching New Jersey to be sold via the internet to the highest bidder. Both movies are not “true” stories per se but are based on actual events that happen everyday.

Get connected. One of the biggest issues in the United States regarding the Sex Trade is that no one believes the elephant is in the room. Reported in the “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010” you can see that Labor Trade task forces are over three times more likely to be formed than a Sex Trade task force.14   Unfortunately, many agencies will not face the truth, Human/Sex Trafficking is flourishing in America and many more countries worldwide. We must take action to awaken those in areas of power and influence to the epidemic that is sweeping our country. Contact your Senator, Congressman, Governor, Mayor and others responsible for passing laws to make them aware of what is happening and rally them to a course of action. Think of it this way, every time you speak boldly a life may be saved.

Get involved. Isaiah 1:17 states “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” This is not an option. God has commanded us to treat each other with respect and dignity because we are all made in his image. Not only is sexual exploitation a crime against all of humanity, it is a crime against our Maker. The more people that are involved in actively stopping the Human/Sex Trade the quicker it will begin to vanish. There are many organizations you can become apart of by donating your time, energy, talents and money if you feel motivated to action. Even if you do not feel motivated to action at this moment I would ask that you pray about this evil epidemic upon our world today and see how God stirs your heart in this matter. An excellent resource with 10 action steps is located online at Exodus Cry (15) an organization whose goal is to end human trafficking and modern day slavery through prayer, action and awareness. And lastly, if you know of abuse happening make sure you report it immediately, if you cannot report it email me and I will take action for you. Together let us seek justice and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

(Please see the first two parts of the series to find more links to organizations that you can become involved with. Please sign up to follow this blog by clicking on the link to the left “Sign Me Up”)

14Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf

15 http://exoduscry.com/action

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Statistics though do not have faces. While it may be easy for some to read a statistical analysis of a criminal activity without feeling any compassion, sympathy or anger the stories of Sex Trafficking victims do not allow the same respite.

One such story is of Andrea, a girl who was abandoned by her family at age 4(9).  Andrea recounts being shuttled back and forth between the US on numerous occasions. At the age of 7 Andrea was taken to a hotel to meet a john who read the Bible to her before he had sex with her and then read the Bible again after he was done. “Sex as a child always hurt” but Andrea’s captors would “train” her usually by rape or other sadistic methods. Though she was young Andrea recalled many times she would be taken to help “shop” for other young children, explaining how in Juarez Mexico her captors purchased a young 4 year old boy from a family for $500. When she was shuttled back into the US many of the children would be dropped off at service stations to men waiting in the restrooms…some of the children would return to the transport van while many would leave the van never to be seen again. The children who did return would be taken to stash houses, regular looking houses in regular middle class neighborhoods. Usually there were three age groups that her captors would hold down in the basement of the homes, toddler to 4, 5 to 12, and then the teens and “damaged group.” In the “damaged group” the men could beat you and do pretty much whatever they desired to do. The children held in the basement were malnourished, beaten both emotionally and physically but they would much rather stay in the basement…when they were summoned out it meant they would be used for another waiting customer. The average time span a child will be used in the Sex Trade industry is usually 2-4 years before they are either abandoned or killed, Andrea endured this type of life for 12 years, never experiencing a childhood.

The abuse that Andrea received runs much deeper than mere physical trauma. Her life was threatened regularly, the lives of family members and friends would be constantly threatened to keep her behavior regulated. Even with the opportunity of freedom the psychological terror that her captors literally beat into her kept her from ever trying to gain freedom. Many of the children would never even consider running to the police for fear of further brutalization as many law enforcement agencies would share in the corruption, turning their heads for large weekly payoffs from the Human/Sex Traffickers. Today, Andrea still lives in fear from her past captors as they are still at large and probably still terrorizing more young children.

Unfortunately this story is not the exception…its becoming the rule. Millions of children are treated just like Andrea was…every day, millions; hearing about one child treated like this is absurd but the harsh reality is that globally women and children are being abducted, sold, pimped and forced into a living hell. But the question must be asked, who would ever do such a thing? Who could ever perpetrate such an act and how does one become a customer to purchase something that God never intended to be sold? The answers may be as unnerving as the crimes they commit.

Of course, trying to find reliable estimates or figures on who is a Human/Sex Trafficker or customer of traffickers remains to be a rather murky engagement. What we do know is that the crime does not harbor favorites, people of every age, race and gender are involved in the Human/Sex Trafficking crime organizations. Referencing back to the DOJ’s “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010,” we see that the highest percent of traffickers were either African-American or Hispanic with Asian, White and “Other” finishing out the list.10  The figure which stands out the most is the gender of the traffickers. Men comprised of 80 percent of the traffickers while women made up nearly 20 percent of the arrested traffickers! When most people think of a child being brutalized, beaten, raped and starved it is almost against our nature to believe a woman could be involved in such a brutal crime, yet the statistics show otherwise. In fact, women often serve a key role in Sex Trafficking organizations as they are the ones who gain the “trust” of the child or woman when they are first brought in. But it is the women who also cause the most psychological damage as they are in charge of “grooming” the child/woman on how to act and what they are to do.

Statistical analysis on the customers of Sex Trafficking is even more scarce. Most of the information referenced involves trafficking outside of the United States as most customers of third-world countries “sex tourism” are customers from northern Europe and the United States.11  While many would believe that only pedophiles would be the customers of such sexual exploitation this assumption would be false. The vast majority of men traveling abroad have no criminal record and purposefully schedule trips specifically to be a “sex tourist.” Hot spots for such activity include Thailand, Cambodia, and most recently Brazil has begun to emerge as the leader in “sex tourism” travel. Frequently, travelers will disguise their trips as “Amazon fishing tours” while in fact they are targeting children that are made available to sexual exploitation.

The excuses that men give for their preying upon children and impoverished women are pathetic. It reminds me of those Dateline specials with Chris Hansen, “To Catch a Predator.” Men on this show are caught red handed, showing up to the house of a minor with the sole intent of having sex with them and even though there is a mountain of evidence against them the men will do whatever they can to point the finger elsewhere. Experts have given four possible ideas as to the motivation of these predators. 1) Travelers believe they are relieving the children of economic hardship when paying them for sex, 2) They believe that some countries are less “sexually inhibited,” 3) The thought of anonymity and freedom of their home’s moral standards, 4) Often travelers have racist beliefs, that certain cultures or people are “less than human” and can be treated accordingly.12  How a person can justify traveling to another country solely for the purpose of “sexual tourism” is beyond understanding and completely sickening. Can people be so utterly wicked, sinful and evil that they can exploit children sexually and then come up with excuses as to why its ok?

Unfortunately, one of the reasons that people continue to traffic people for the purpose of sex is that the governments of many countries have turned a blind eye or even a paid eye to the problem. As stated before, Human/Sex Trafficking is a $32 Billion a year industry and traffickers pay whatever is necessary to make sure their flow of money goes undisturbed. Couple this with the fact that many law enforcement personnel do not think there is a major problem of Human/Sex Traffickers and you get a toxic mix of corruption and ignorance that leaves many vulnerable women and children in a perpetual state of brutal abuse. As Gary Haugen president of IJM puts it, “You don’t run to the police; you run from the police.”13

With so much money, corruption and abuse, it seems as though it would be impossible to ever stop the global engine of Human/Sex Trafficking…

(This topic is too important for you to miss the next post! Click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the left of this page to be notified by email. Stay tuned to learn what YOU can do to make a difference…)

9 Andrea’s story is recounted in “The Girls Next Door,” by Peter Landesman (See Part 1)

10 Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf

11 Arielle Eirienne 2009. “Child Sex Tourism: ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ in a Globalized World.” Student Pulse Academic Journal 1.11. Retrieved from: <http://www.studentpulse.com/a?id=34>

12 These 4 points are from page 3 of Eirienne’s article.

(A word of caution as you begin to read this post, the content and the subject matter discussed is not for the faint of heart. Please refer to the end of each post for references and applicable links. Lastly, do not shy away from the emotions that you feel as you read, rather, allow yourself to turn emotion into action.)

About two years ago I was first introduced to the world of Human/Sex Trafficking, I say introduced because in my mind these are things that had been abolished many years before, in America slavery ended with the 13th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865 and much earlier in the French Colonies (1848) and British Empire (1833). While slavery was a cruel and evil practice, it was a practice that was rather easy to identify the key participants involved and enact proper legislation and measures to abolish it’s existence. Human/Sex Trafficking is completely different, completely sinister, completely discreet and ultimately a pure form of evil unknown to most people today. While I know that many of my readers come from different countries I am writing from my American perspective which I understand can be rather shallow and narcissistic at times evidenced by the fact that I just recently “discovered” the existence of Human/Sex Trafficking. My apologies in advance as I try to navigate through an understanding of this dark, evil world.

Two years ago my church held an end of the year campaign for IJM, International Justice Mission. IJM is a U.S.-based Christian human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.1  During this end of the year campaign our congregation was exposed to the truth of Human/Sex Trafficking. It is very real and it is flourishing at a phenomenal rate worldwide. In fact, after drug dealing, Human/Sex Trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.2  The fastest growing! Meaning, left at it’s current rate it will soon outpace illegal drugs as the number one criminal industry in the world! Armed with this type of information the church was moved to donate a substantial sum to help support IJM’s work throughout the world. Some good had been done and now I could rest I thought…”I wrote my check and did a good deed, what more do you want from me?” Unfortunately, this type of thinking is allowing the Sex Trafficking industry to grow at it’s astronomical rate and as more people turn their heads the industry will continue to flourish.

Perhaps flourish is an understatement. Human/Sex Trafficking has a total market value that is estimated to be above $32 billion!3  If every church in the world gave their yearly offering toward this I doubt we could even come close to the number of $32 billion!

Let me take a moment to share with you some more of the global statistics; there are nearly 2 million CHILDREN in the commercial sex trade with an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders annually! Additionally, 80 percent of Human/Sex Trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors!4  To put this into perspective for you, IJM has to date freed more than 1,000 people from the Sex Trafficking industry a number that is to be applauded and celebrated. Yet, this makes up less than half a percent of the total children in the commercial sex trade industry today!

Globally the numbers are grim but the United States can no longer say this problem is a third-world epidemic. Domestic numbers estimate that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked into the US annually while Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves5   estimates that there are “30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time.”6  In it’s newly developed biennial study, the Department of Justice recently released (April 2011) it’s “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010.”7  From January 2008 through June 2010 there were over 2500 reports of Human Trafficking investigated and the numbers revealed are shocking. Of the 2500 incidents 82 percent (2065) were classified as Sex Trafficking, and more than 1,000 of the incidents involved the prostitution or sexual exploitation of a CHILD!8 Furthermore, of the 2065 Sex Trafficking incidents 83 percent of the victims were United States citizens! What makes these figures even more shocking is the fact that these are only those cases we know about, as this comprises of only 10 percent of the estimated sex slaves in the United States.

One final statistic that cannot be overlooked, from the DOJ’s 2007-2008 report to the current reports information the number of incidents has more than doubled. The more we look into the closet the more bones we see are piling up.

Statistics though do not have faces…

(This topic is too important for you to miss the next post! Click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the left of this page to be notified by email. Stay tuned to hear the story of Andrea, who at 4 years old was thrust into the world of sex trafficking…)

1 http://www.ijm.org/

2 IJM Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet: Http://www.ijm.org/downloaddocument?gid=1

3 IJM

4 IJM fact sheet

5 http://www.freetheslaves.net/

6 Peter Landesman, “The Girls Next Door,” NY Times, January 25, 2004.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/magazine/the-girls-next-door.html?pagewanted=all

7 Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010

http://www.bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf

8 CSHTI, 1.

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