Child sex trafficking in our backyard

By Kelly Murphy
November 18, 2005

Last Wednesday I was patiently waiting in line at Jazzman’s for my normal popcorn chicken salad, and as I waited and waited, I glanced down at my watch and saw that it was 3:54 p.m. and I had exactly six minutes to get to my room for ‘Oprah.’ I bet you thought this was going to be another redundant piece on Jazzman’s. Fooled you.

I do not watch ‘Oprah’ religiously, and I normally have no idea who and what her shows are about on a daily basis, but the night before, when flipping through the channels, I saw a preview for her show the next day. Simply put, it was about sexual abuse in regard to children in under developed countries. After watching the show, it was deeper than that and closer to home.

Once I saw the faces of the young children who were bribed or kidnapped from their homes and then shoved into the child sex trafficking world, I was disgusted and wanted other people to know about this horrible trend and how it isn’t just happening overseas.

As we all know, sex sells. The trafficking of children for the purpose of sex is a multi-million-dollar, man-made business. For those that don’t know, according to UNICEF, sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years. It is most prominent in South Asia where an estimated 2.5 million boys and girls are forced into prostitution.

Many times in Europe these children and the jobs they are doing are condoned by the parents as a means for easy money. The children walk the streets at night waiting for tourists, many who are Americans, to stop and come up with some form of deal between the parent and perpetrator for a few minutes alone in the car with the child. These children not only undergo sexual abuse, but are also mentally scarred and are never able to receive the proper counseling or education on what they have done, because these children end up feeling shameful and feeling like they did something wrong to deserve this torture. They believe the fact that they are being used for sex is their fault.

Since this is a global problem, the leaders of these trafficking rings can never truly be caught and punished for these crimes. Even with some form of evidence, it often comes down to the child’s word versus the leader’s. But really what is the true crime here, what are these traffickers doing? They kidnap children, mainly young girls, and force them to have sex with 10 to 12 men a day. In Asia, young girls who are believed to be virgins sell for a higher value, and if the girl happens to not be a virgin, many times they will perform surgeries to make, for lack of better words, the customer believe she is.

But I mean this is happening in Asia and Europe. So really no big deal, let them sort that out themselves. Wrong. Children are being shipped and smuggled in and out of the United States, many times in pinatas from our Mexican borders. Nice. According to UNICEF, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. A guest of Oprah’s, Gary Haugen, president of the international justice mission, stated, “One group was able to identify 12 brothels within a mile radius of the White House.” Now I understand President Bush may be busy. However, he needs to realize what is happening in his own backyard.

Another guest of Oprah’s, Michele Gillen, a reporter on a television station in Miami, recently went undercover to investigate child smuggling. She started her investigation in Tijuana, Mexico but was quickly led across the border to the prominent community of Oceanside, Calif. It was there that police discovered an outdoor brothel in the woods. In closet-like makeshift bedrooms made out of bamboo reeds, young girls were forced to have sex on dirt floors with as many as 40 men a day while plastic bags shield them from any public view.

There are things that can be done to promote awareness and prevent trafficking and sex crimes from continuing in our own country. You can write your local senator or congressmen to just let them know you are aware of the problem and want it to stop or maybe with one letter will come two and so on and a difference can be made to the children that are affected.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Kelly Murphy

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