The underlying causes for parents knowingly selling their daughters into sexual slavery are usually grinding poverty and unscrupulous slave traders who are more often than not in league with the local law enforcement authorities, because this is a very lucrative trade and fills the coffers of all of those involved, while trading on the most vulnerable.
Right now there are many independent groups working to rescue children from this horrible life and many of them are quite successful in rehabilitating the children so they can lead somewhat productive lives. But, taken as a whole, they are unable to match the power and pervasiveness of the slave traders.
What is needed is a new approach, one that does not just deal with rescue and rehabilitation (as important as this is) but that deals with root causes and the cultural/legal acceptance of the practice — because once the children are in, they are scarred for life and many die a horrible death as a result.
We need to begin an annual global conference on child sexual exploitation and trafficking which can focus attention on this plague, become a clearing house for study and dissemination of programs to mitigate the underlying causes and to create platforms for discussion of the legal and cultural factors which promote and support this heinous practice. Such a conference would focus world attention on this dark side of society with the hope that once light enters these dark rooms, the world will be able to recognize its horror and take action.
How much longer should we wait and how many more lives need to be lost before we act? From the old Peter Paul and Mary song, “how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?
Learn more at Harry Leibowitz’s Huffington Post article: How Do We Stop the World’s Sex Trafficking Problem?