As I read the article, I kept thinking about how easily this could happen to any woman…any of our own girls. Yes, some of us put ourselves at greater risk by some of the choices we make, but nevertheless, bad people can do bad things even to the best people.
My heart raced as I read this woman’s account about how she was sold by someone she was dating and how she went on later, as part of her escape plan, to become a madam and began to lure young woman into the industry. The youngest victim she saw there was seven years old…seven years old! She said the image of that child still haunts her in her dreams some twenty years later. Horrific!
Most of us think that sex trafficking is something that occurs only overseas. To some extent that is true. A lot of the women who are trafficked within the United States are not American born, but this still does not make it solely an international problem. It is happening right here in America at this very moment. Women are being forcibly drugged and held hostage in deplorable conditions far worse than anything our convicted criminals endure.
These are but a few of the statistics:
* Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)
* Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
* The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
* A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
* The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20-48 times a day. (Polaris Project)
* Fewer than 100 beds are available in the United States for underage victims. (Health and Human Services)
* Department Of Justice has identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country:” Houston • El Paso • Los Angeles • Atlanta • Chicago • Charlotte • Miami • Las Vegas • New York • Long Island • New Orleans • Washington, D.C. • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Richmond • San Diego• San Francisco • St Louis • Seattle • Tampa (Department of Justice)
* One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)
(Source: http://thecoveringhouse.org/act/resources-2/sex-trafficking- statistics-source-documentation/)
Maybe you have seen these statistics before, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you care about these statistics and maybe you don’t care to think about these things. Is your heart burdened for these women? What about for the men who feel the need to visit these women? Is your heart heavy for them? Yours may not be, but let me assure you that they are on the heart of Jesus. Like you and me, Jesus weeps for these people. Jesus prays for these people. And because Jesus is burdened by their conditions, we too should be burdened by their circumstances.
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 7:25 NLT)
The one tool we have to fight this battle is prayer. The second tool is awareness. Did you know that the trucks you see on the highway as you drive to work could contain a truckload full of these young women? Are you aware that at any given moment, you could be driving by an establishment or a warehouse where these women are being held captive? Did you know that these traffickers lurk about our daily places looking for victims as well as clients?
It makes me sick that at this very moment there are women locked in a dark warehouse that are unaware what time of the day it is or what day of the week it is for that matter. They are being held completely against their will…imprisoned by evil.
It takes a village…and that village includes you and me.
Great blog Erin and thank you for reminding us about this horrific problem. We need to pray and take a stand against this evil.