Who would have thought that child trafficking is a domestic issue here in the United States? For majority of Americans, talking about child trafficking involves children in other countries who are traded and forced to work for sex. Perhaps one in only then Americans realizes that the problem is actually prevalent in this part of the world.
Child trafficking in America, just like other countries, is considered big business. However, there is a great deal of difference when it comes to the nature of abuse children face. In most third world nations, victims are usually placed in hard labor camps and factories or become child prostitutes in brothels and prostitution houses. In the United States on the other hand, majority of the victims are trafficked by way of prostitution. Most of them are not even forced to do it. Rather, they are manipulated and deceived.
There are a great number of teens and some are even children who roam the streets at night to look for a living. They do it by offering themselves as sex partners. For many of us, we call it prostitution. But for most of them, it’s the only way to survive. One big problem we have in this country is the fact that most of us seem to consider seeing these young lives carry out their trade. But what we don’t know is that these young teens and children are actually abused. Although it seems like they like what they’re doing, they are actually given no choice.
A lot of the stories about these ruined lives spring from the cycle of abuse. The question is why are they in the streets? The root of it all comes from the family that raised them. Most teenage and child prostitutes in the United States are from violent family backgrounds. A child that grew in the sights of a violent father or mother may likely run away from home and seek refuge somewhere else. Children who are caught in between divorce and domestic abuse are left with no choice but to stay away and live on their own. Teens that are constantly abused by a member of the family frequently resort to drug and alcohol abuse to find temporary refuge. These are the unfortunate things that result to making these very same young people to become much more vulnerable to future abuse and exploitation.
Being away from home will add to the vulnerability of an already weak child or teen. This is also the time where offenders, criminals, and manipulative individuals like pimps come in. They use the child’s weakness to their advantage. By doing so, they are able to project an image of a superhero – the one who will save the victim from further misfortunes and abuse. However, this is really not the case. What happens next is the victim of domestic abuse becomes a victim all over again, this time from the harsh reality of prostitution and substance abuse in the streets.
Prostitution is a kind of child trafficking. Thousands of children are trafficked and transferred from different states each year. They are groomed by pimps to provide clients with sex services. In return, they are either given a share of the pay or just given drugs to satisfy their addiction.
If we ask the question, are these young people doing it with their own will? The answer is no. Most of them are doing it because they are left with no choice. Others meanwhile are forced and deceived for the promise of money and drugs, or in other words, a chance of survival.
Now we should therefore understand that sex trafficking is not only found in poor and impoverished countries. If you see young girls donning shiny clothes, high heels, and heavy make up at night while you’re on your way home, then trafficking is part of your neighborhood.