Hidden in Plain Sight
Sex Trafficking has become one of the fastest growing crimes against children in the U.S. Here are some staggering facts to back that statement up:
•At least 105,000 children in the U.S. are being sexually exploited every year, according to the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
•The FBI considers sex trafficking the fastest-growing organized crime, and online channels allowing for the exploitation are only making it easier for predators to do business.
•The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.
The underbelly of this silent crime are the thousands of children who are exploited every week by pimps and their recruiters. It's a recruiters job to seek out, romance, befriend and lure young men and women to a place of comfort, trust and young love. It is in this stage children are encouraged to 'separate' from their families, friends and activities. Targeting loners, new kids or the ones that seem to be 'out of place' and don't fit int. These expert manipulators know exactly what to say to have a child feel they are 'finally loved' and have someone to call their own.Being showered with gifts, clothes, nights out to dinner, a new cell phone and beauty gifts are all part of the game.
They choose their victims wisely, taking their time, courting them until these unsuspecting teenagers fall head over heels for their new girlfriend or boyfriend. A pimp can make up to $250,000 a year per girl - they are patient knowing it is worth the wait.
Once in their clutches is is next to impossible to break them up, as these master manipulators are experts and will tell the child exactly what the parents will say to keep them apart. Breaking trust with the family, building up the trust with them. The psychological tactics used by the pimps and their recruiters have been honed over time and create a love/abuse attachment for the victim. Share these tips with everyone. Let's keep our kids safe.
1 - Pimps will recruit out in the open - they will target girls and boys at the mall, skate parks, near schools, Laundromats, outdoor sporting games. Anywhere there is a large group of young people.
2 - Pimps and their recruiters promise a glamorous life. Plenty of food, shelter, pretty cloths - the party life! Once under their spell, they use physical and sexual abuse to keep them under control and silent. Part of this is the coercion - threatening not only the victim, but the victims friends and family.
3 - They use other girls and boys to recruit for them. This is very common in school settings. They befriend the new or lonely kids, inviting them to places and parties showing them the party life. Promising money, prestige and meeting famous people.
4 - Pimps use fancy job titles like, photographer, modeling agency, make up artists, movie producer or film director. Always promising the dream job - after they do this 'one favor'. Which is then photographed and used as blackmail to force them into this world.
5 - Pimps use Craig's list, Facebook, twitter, tumblr, video games to connect with kids around the world. Making 'friends' with strangers is as dangerous on line as it is in person. Monitor who your children talk to online. One negative comment about a parent, sibling or friend and the pimp will move right in, eventually convincing the child they are not wanted or loved where they are and they should run away and come live with them. Luring them into a false sense of safety and love.
Never before has this been so prevalent in our neighborhoods. No one wants to talk about it and it's happening every day. You can do something about it. Learn to look for the signs. Talk to your children. Share this blog with their teachers. You can make a difference and save our children from this silent crime.
You can learn more about the signs of trafficking here: https://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs
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