“The history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. The further back in history one goes-and the further away from the West one gets-the more massive the neglect and cruelty one finds and the more likely children are to have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers.”
~Lloyd deMause, 1988
Children: The Modern Commodity
Ok, just so we are on the same page here: we are continuing on with this series of posts about Human Trafficking, and more specifically, with the issue of sex slavery. This is the third post in a series of posts entitled, “Sex Slaves, Who Knew?”
I have been talking about this issue of slavery for quite some time now among those I do life with. It has been pretty much a running conversation ever since I became aware of the problem a few years back.
And I have to be honest, when I first started researching and learning about human trafficking and sex-trafficking, and then subsequently sex slaves, and children sex-slaves (three words I just could not have fathomed putting together in that order in a sentence– EVER– had it not been told to me), I got a little sick to my stomach . . . OK, “A LOT” bit sick to my stomach.
To the point of literally gagging in a public university library looking around to make sure nobody heard/ saw my disgust (much less the story I was reading on the screen in front of me). Can you believe? I was actually embarrassed/ ashamed of what I was reading and seeing? Nothing I did, mind you, caused these events to take place. But, somehow, I felt vaguely responsible and icky for reading this kind of “garbage.”
However, this “garbage,” was . . . TRUE. REAL, LIFE GARBAGE coming off the pages, repeatedly smacking me in the face, shouting at me : “WAKE UP SLEEPER!!! THIS is the world you live in . . . this IS the World . . . AND don’t even think for one second that you can close your eyes EVER again!”
And I didn’t . . . Couldn’t.
I was reading about MODERN-DAY slaves in what can only be described as a modern day NIGHTMARE! I was reading about men and women, mostly women though, who had been bought and sold numerous times as if they were meat.
But what really got to me the most, was that not only were men and women sold . . . but, mostly it was c h i l d r e n that were being sold. As that information sunk in and all of the pictures of children on the side of the proverbial milk cartons of my life flashed through my mind, and it became suddenly clear WHERE they had all gone. Many of them had been bought and sold . . . for sex.
Children- the MOST defenseless, vulnerable inhabitants of our society. They are taken advantage of in the wost ways possible. Sadly, we are part of a world . . . and a society, no less, that takes a little girl and transforms her from this:
And then, turns her into:
And for what? Why? Why prostitute a little girl??
Well, let’s see from a trafficker’s point of view, and to play devil’s advocate here for a second … there are several “benefits” to trafficking children, and namely little girls, so I will go into a few here.
For starters, trafficking children is a low-risk, high-profit trade.
Children are easier to deceive, psychologically torment, and lie to. They have no idea what their rights are as a person. Some are so well groomed, psychologically, that they actually believe their trafficker/ pimp is the only one who loves or cares for them.
Furthermore, They’re easier to move and hide from authorities. It’s easier to claim a child as one’s own or as a relative when traveling, and that’s what they do, they travel . . . a lot. They have to if they want to meet the wishes of their cliental who are always eager for FRESH FACES.
Which brings us to our next reason, and that is that they are in high DEMAND, because in more developed nations they are considered to be less of a risk for contracting disease for one thing, and they are also more likely to do certain acts of service, which their older, more experienced “free” counterparts may refuse to do, not to mention the large number of pedophiles that seek out opportunities with children.
The last reason I give you, comes back to the golden coin . . . it is much cheaper to purchase, maintain, and transport a child, so they will, always be in high demand in this trade.
Which brings me to my next question . . .
Exactly, Who is targeted as victims of trafficking?
Traffickers look for very specific things, such as girls from rural areas and abroad, this works out well because they are often uneducated. They also target those suffering from poverty, homeless children, and the traditional kidnapping is also a common method for obtaining new “product.”
What’s less known is that many victims are being “primed,” and “groomed” way before being thrown out in the sex slave rings.
This process is very psychologically involved. Often, for the older girls, the trafficker or pimp will build relationships with these girls by bringing them presents and eventually becoming their so-called boyfriend. Then the traffickers focus on isolation and create within the victim dependency on them.
Many girls and children are being encountered online as well. They form relationships here and when they go to meet their prince charming- they are kidnapped and thrown into the trade just like an animal led to slaughter.
In fact, in this industry, it is well known that the internet has revolutionized child pornography, Monique Ferraro makes an excellent point in her book, that “if the coming of the internet has not exactly legalized child pornography of the most worrisome kind, then, it has made such material extraordinarily accessible, and almost risk-free to those viewing it.”
Why don’t they just escape? Or runaway? It’s easy to think, “If I was in that situation, I would refuse to do anything they told me, or I would tell my customers that I was there against my will, and ask them to call the police or the embassy… Or I would fight my way out, even if they killed me…or any other number of thoughts may be running through your mind right now…
But, the sad truth is that after you refused the first time, you would likely be gang raped, beaten near to death and possibly mutilated . . . you wouldn’t tell your customers anything, other than how happy you are to serve them, and that you hope they come again to see you tomorrow…
. . . because if you didn’t- your family’s lives would be threatened, and judging from the way you have been treated, you have no doubt that they would do exactly what they said they would do to them.
You wouldn’t dare run away, because last week a girl tried it, they caught her, they tortured her first, and then they killed her right in front of you to make an example out of her.
So you see, they really are . . . trapped.
Furthermore . . . Most of the time these women and children are brought to remote places they have never seen before and often, they do not know the language. And because they are moved frequently, it ensures the highest level of disorientation and allows for the pimps to keep up with the demand for new girls in each port or city.
So, all hope may seem lost for them. But Actually, and incredibly, girls do make it out alive and get up enough strength and courage to go to the police they have been warned about by their traffickers, who told them they would be arrested or worse, sent back- they get help through agencies like the United Nations (UN), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), International Labour Organization (ILO), and many others.
Aside from governmental agencies, there are many Non Governmental Organizations seeking to end this atrocity to mankind and there are many ways to get involved with them via their websites.
If you would like to learn more about them, I will list some of them below for your convenience. And here is a quick video from one of the organizations (The Girl Effect) trying to help girls by prevention.
Lastly, the most important thing to realize in all of this, is that this is happening EVERYWHERE, even in your own backyard. Go ahead do a quick search of your city (or the largest one near you) with the key word: trafficking alongside it, and see what turns up.
It’s just too close to home for me, which is why I have decided to do this research and why I have vouched to talk about this issue with as many people as I can, because I want people to realize:
If you don’t see them, the victims, that is, it’s only because you’re not looking.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this and to share this post with others. Because it is only through the help of many that we can see this atrocity end.
**Please click on the icons below, to learn more about these incredible organizations!