Its Time

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Its Time

It’s Time to Bring Awareness And Keep Our Children Safe

Child sex trafficking in your own backyard?!?! That can’t be true! Or can it?

 

Did you know…

Atlanta is rated the top US city for singles to live?

Has the world’s largest aquarium?

Has the largest fast food restaurant?

Has the world’s busiest airport?

AND did you know Atlanta ranks as one of the HIGHEST US cities for CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING?

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Take your watch and set the alarm to go off in two minutes. When this happens you can be certain that a child has just been sold as a sex slave. Every two minutes a child loses his/her innocence, dreams, self-esteem, reason to live and love, and it is not by choice but by force. Every two minutes a child is being robbed of his/her right to have a happy childhood, a right that so many of us have taken for granted. “The victims of the sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life, and underground of brutality and lonely fear,” President Bush said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2003.

Just like the average citizen of Atlanta, I was totally unaware of this issue until I attended an event at my church that was hosting a showing for a documentary called “Abolition.” Watching this film was like a horror movie, but in this case it was reality, and what’s worse is that it’s happening in the city that I live in. It opened my eyes to the cruel reality of child sex trafficking, and I was heartbroken!

Commercial sexual exploitation of kids: it’s all about the money, and there are tremendous amounts of money. Human trafficking is a 32 billion dollar worldwide industry, and it’s the second largest illegal trade behind drugs. The U.S. Department of State defines sex trafficking as the “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act”; in other words, child sex trafficking is raping innocent children for profit.

  • The average age of child sexual exploitation appears to be fourteen, but girls as young as ten and eleven have been exploited (Hidden In Plain View: 2005 Mayor’s Report)
  • Nearly 300 young girls are sexually exploited in Georgia every month
  • An average of 67 girls engage in street prostitution every month on several known corridors
  • An average of 137 girls appear in Craigslist ads every month
  • An average of 63 girls are exploited through escort services every month
  • An average of 28 girls are exploited monthly with johns at major hotels
  • As many as 129 girls are prostituted on a typical weekend night
  • Internet ads on Craigslist selling sex with “young girls,” “just turned 18,” “barely legal” females received inquiries from johns at 132% to the 175% rate of ads that do not mention young age

These statistics are just words that try to describe the severity of the problem, but once you are face to face with sex trafficking, these words and numbers become a face, a name, and a story. This summer, I had the opportunity to be part of one of the S2S trips. We went to Fulton Industrial Boulevard, a place known for prostitution. By then, I was aware of this issue, but I had never seen it with my own two eyes. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that night. I saw girls walking away from hotels, getting in cars and driving away. We got to talk to them and learn about their stories. We met Princess. She was 19 years old and had been on the streets since she was sixteen. As Americans, it is very easy to think that this issue is a third world country’s problem, but it’s time to open our eyes and bring awareness to the child sex trafficking issue and realize that it is happening in our own backyard.

As cruel as it sounds, pimps refer to the children they exploit as “product”. Traffickers are very clever to find kids that are running away from home and looking for affection. Because trusted people have not been trustworthy to begin with, girls run away from home to escape abuse just to find themselves in worse situations.  One out of every three teens will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home (National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children). Pimps are willing to give girls that affection that they so desperately need, and way before the girls can react and run to safety, they are in the dark world of sex trafficking and they cannot escape. Girls that fall victim to heartless pimps will be abused, tortured, drugged, and terrorized to make sure that they don’t try to escape and do what they are told.

In one case, a girl was sold as a sex slave for a car. In another case, a pimp beat a girl around the ankles to remind her that if she ever tried to run away there would be consequences. These forms of torture are carefully planned out. The reason the pimp beat her around the ankles was because it is a very sensitive body part due to lack of muscle, because it would not leave marks, and he could still exploit her for profit afterwards.

One of the reasons why Atlanta is a safe haven for this type of crime is because it is a transportation city. People can come into the city and leave very quickly once they have perpetrated their crime. It is also cheap and accessible to get to Atlanta, which makes our children cheap and accessible as well. In order for this business to flourish, it requires demand (Adults buying children for sex), which forces the supplier (trafficker or pimp) to find the “product” (children). It is time to take a stand and protect the innocence of our children. This can be happening right next door. Realize that the average customers are 35 to 40 years old, white, and well-educated men. Child sex trafficking requires a movement in order to stop it. Now that you are aware of the problem you have two options: One, do nothing about it, or two, get involved in the cause. It is not okay that our own children are being raped for profit! Get the word out there and make others aware. The time to act is NOW!

To find more information and ways to get involve and help go to:

www.streetgrace.org

www.innocenceatlanta.org

www.atlantasoroptimist.org

www.afuturenotapast.org

 

If you suspect human trafficking anywhere in Georgia, call the hotline:

404-602-0068

 

Other areas can contact the Trafficking Information and Referral hotline at:

1-888-3737-888

 

By Diana Chavez

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