[youtube=] Of the 27 million slaves in the world today about half are children.   According to research by the University of Pennsylvania, at least 100,000 AMERICAN children PER YEAR are used for pornography or prostitution.   And here’s a simple statistic that never fails to pierce my heart:  Two children are trafficked into sexual exploitation every minute   Traffickers typically use recruiters. That might be a 16 year old boy who acts like he has a romantic interest in a girl. Or a girl around the same age as the targeted victim , or a woman. Someone who seems safe and who acts like they are the ones who will provide what the child is longing for: love, protection, affirmation and attention. Recruiters invest time cultivating a child’s trust until the day comes when the child is in a position to be handed over to a trafficker. Then everyone’s true motivations are revealed.   So who’s vulnerable?

  • Runaways   1/3 are lured into sexual exploitation within 48 hours of leaving home! 90% eventually end up in commercial sex trade. We need to warn young people and parents about the tactics and dangers of trafficking!
  • Children on the fringes. These may be kids from abusive homes or those neglected by harried immigrant parents working two jobs to make ends meet. Or it may just be the chubby child who doesn’t quite fit in.
  • Anyone

Traffickers are less likely to recruit from neighborhoods with social power. It’s riskier and a wide spread search is more likely. But I talked to a woman a few months ago who lived in an expensive, exclusive neighborhood and was trafficked by boy in her high school. I’ve read of traffickers targeting girls in rural Minnesota simply because they are sweet and wholesome, and sweet wholesome virgins bring the highest prices. Traffickers are driven by profit, so sometimes they will take increased risks.   In our most recent local case, 16 and 17 year old girls from a rural high school were the victims. Anyone, of any race, in any locale and with any socio-economic status can become a trafficker’s prey. Traffickers will recruit from malls, schools, bowling alleys, skating rinks, playgrounds, theatres– anywhere children can be found.