Why is sex trafficking so prevalent? Most people would admit it’s the demand. However, the controversy lies in how a person rationalizes their own demand for paid (possibly underage) sex. The men in my family used to talk about their “need” for sex. They spoke about it as if it was as critical as food and water. I would beg them not to do it. I would tell them that it hurt me, or that I just wanted to go to sleep. They would always answer the same way. They “had” to do it. They would state it as if they were forced to meet their own sexual needs at the expense of others. They would say it as if they were as justified as someone who stole bread to feed their starving children.
Sometimes people ask me, “How did you know that there was something you forgot?” On a conscious level, I didn’t. But something seemed wrong. I was so anxious and so sick, and no doctor could determine the cause. I also found that there were huge gaps in my childhood memories. I used to tell people in my family that I didn’t remember my childhood. I specifically told my father that I had no memories of ever living with him. He just shrugged it off, changing the subject very quickly. Now I understand why.
I have read that child sex trafficking victims have a life expectancy between 3 years and 7 years. They die from sexually transmitted diseases, starvation and physical abuse. Since only 1% of victims are ever rescued, trafficking is a death sentence. This is one of the ways that pimps keep from being caught by police. The victims (and witnesses) just disappear. I can only imagine there must be some relief for a pimp when a victim dies. That’s one less witness to worry about.
This article discusses the prevalence of American trafficking victims and the need to keep our children safe through the education of children and parents.
American Trafficking Victims – Aguilera
How could this happen in a suburb of Washington D.C.? People would have seen something. Somebody would have said something or called the police. What about your family? What about your mother? Why didn’t you tell anyone?
I’ve heard all of these responses. Nobody wants to believe it. Nobody wants to admit that it is possible for this level of absurdity to happen in our modern, civilized society. As Americans, we like to label our country as “first world” or “developed”. We are quick to judge other countries for human rights violations, but it is difficult for us to face our own. So we don’t look for it. We ignore it. We pretend it isn’t there.
When I discuss it with others, I usually hear, “That is such a big problem in other countries. They should really do something about it.” Some may have read enough to know that people from other countries are brought to the United States to be sold. They might say something like, “We should strengthen our borders and stop those smugglers.” People are dumbfounded when I tell them that I have been trafficked.