An estimated 100,000 minors are forced into prostitution or pornography each year — but no one knows how vast the problem is because it’s under reported and underground, said Kathy Maitland of the Michigan Abolitionist Project. Michigan is especially vulnerable because of a large agricultural industry, which attracts immigrants, and its location along an international border.
“What a lot of people don’t know is what happens behind the scenes,” Oakland County Sheriff Lt. Wendy Reyes said. “These girls are being raped, beaten, brutalized on a daily basis. They’re taken from their work location to a house and locked up.” A University of Michigan Law study that estimates only 0.4 percent of human trafficking victims are ever identified. “It’s not a self-reporting crime,” said Reyes, and the necessary resources to root it out in Oakland County is nonexistent. “If we had more manpower we would have a unit assigned to do this … and we could get online daily and find these victims.”
Learn more at Gus Burns’ MLive.com article: Forced underage prostitution on rise in Metro Detroit and beyond, Troy panel says.