Congressional Research on Child Sex Trafficking in the United States
In January of 2015, Kristin Finklea – Specialist in Domestic Security, Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara – Specialist in Social Policy, and Alison Siskin – Specialist in Immigration Policy put together their research on domestic child sex trafficking in the United States. Their findings are grim. You can access the full report here, but I summarized some of the report:
Most of the services started by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) are primarily for noncitizens. Though our U.S. children can access the services, there are loopholes councelors and Child Protective Services (CPS) have to jump through to get them. And if that is not depressing enough, specialized services for minors of sex trafficking are limited.
The report names three main factors that fuel sex trafficking:
1. poverty - a large percentage of children/teens go to prostitution because they lack the resources for their basic needs: shelter and food. Pimps (traffickers) promise to help them get their basic necessities in exchange for tricks. Many traffickers wait outside shelters. When there is an overflow of occupants, children walk out the door into the hands of a trafficker offering them food, shelter, and protection.
2. recruitment - organized crime is a huge supporter of sex trafficking. Teens/children are excellent money makers - even more than drugs - because they are reusable. Teens can make more money in the sex trafficking trade than working for minimum wage - and organized crime is making sure teens are aware of the cash possibilities.
3. demand - police forces across the United States are starting to look more at the demand aspect. Too many teens/children have been arrested or put into juveline detention without services to educate them or help them get out of the vicious world of sex trafficking while those soliciting their services are sent away with a misdeamor. Here is an article from 2013 in the Philadelphia area that shows police going after 'johns'. I'm still researching for more up to date examples.
I'll continue to post on my blog as I find updated information. Please, stay informed and get involved. Covenant House continues to expand their efforts to educate teens and get them off the streets. Consider donating to this worthwhile cause.
May, 2015 Philadelphia arrest - trafficker gets 22 years in federal prison. Article here.