An estimated 1 million children worldwide are sexually exploited annually, with the average age of girls forced into the sex trade between the ages of 12 and 14.
A first step toward preventing other children and teens from being victimized is addressing the truth about trafficking. Human trafficking is the selling of human beings for profit through forced labor, sexual exploitation, or involuntary domestic servitude. It can be difficult to identify and track and the Internet has only exacerbated this problem by taking the sex trade off our streets and into hotel rooms – out of sight of law enforcement and social services.
Those who buy into the notion that selling sex is just another career choice should know that most prostitutes are, at the very best, selling themselves for the lack of other means to support themselves. Many aren’t willing participants. Many aren’t even old enough to consent to sex. If apprehended, johns increasingly face serious criminal prosecution. These basic facts, if widely understood, should reduce the demand for commercial sex and thus lessen the number of human trafficking victims.
Each one of us can do something to combat human trafficking. Learn more at Martha Coakley’s Gloucester Times article: My View: Stepping Up Fight vs. Human Trafficking.