Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations.
According to Childhelp:
A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4. It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. 31% percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 is $104 billion. The criminal income from human sex trafficking is more than the combined income of all major sports in the US each year.
Sex Trafficking is Modern-Day Slavery
Facts and Statistics
- Slavery exists in the world today for 27 million held in some form of captivity. 80% of them are women; 50% are underage children and 70% of the females are trafficked for sexual exploitation purposes.
- These are not prostitutes. These are women and girls that are being prostituted.
- Sex-Trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.
- Victims of sex trafficking can be women or men, girls or boys, but the majority are women and girls. There are a number of common patterns for luring victims into situations of sex trafficking, including:
- A promise of a good job in another country
- A false marriage proposal turned into a bondage situation
- Being sold into the sex trade by parents, husbands, boyfriends
- Being kidnapped by traffickers
- Traffickers use psychological as well as physical coercion and bondage. Coercion is defined as: threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
- Sex traffickers frequently subject their victims to debt-bondage, an illegal practice in which the traffickers tell their victims that they owe money (often relating to the victims’ living expenses and transport into the country) and that they must pledge their personal services to repay the debt.
- Sex traffickers use a variety of methods to “condition” their victims including starvation, confinement, beatings, physical abuse, gang rape, threats of violence to the victims and the victims’ families, forced drug use and threat of shaming their victims by revealing their activities to their family and their family’s friends.
According to the Trafficking in Persons Report, 2004 www.state.gov/tip/tls/tiprpt/2004/
- 200,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry
- 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the United States
- 5,000-7,000 people are trafficked into the United States from East Asia and the Pacific
- 3,500-5,500 people are trafficked into the United States from each of the following regions: Latin America, Europe, and Eurasia
Human Trafficking, A Growing Criminal Market in the U.S. by James Finckenauer and Jennifer Schrock of the International Center, National Institute of Justice.
Texas and the Southwest border continue to serve as the biggest point of illegal entry into the U.S., largely because traffickers are able to get aliens across without documents. The major points of entry into the U.S. are located in southern (Houston) and central Texas, southern California, Tucson, Arizona and areas of New Mexico. While the southwest border is often used as the main portal into the U.S., the emerging ports of entry in the region include Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, and Washington, D.C.
At the Department of Justice Trafficking Conference, the I-10 corridor was identified as one of the main routes for human traffickers in the U.S.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The number one obstacle that law enforcement and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) face is the identification of victims. The ease with which victims are hidden, since trafficking may look like a traditional crime such as prostitution, domestic violence, or unpaid wages contributes to the lack of a correct response on the part of the local community, where human trafficking may be occurring. Additionally, many of the victims are unaware that they receive protection under U.S. laws, therefore they rarely self-identify.
Despite the legal innovations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the number of people who have actually received protection under the law is relatively low, especially when compared to estimates of how many trafficking victims are in the U.S.
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State says: “This kind of modern-day slavery is hard to imagine in the United States. I think these cases are so painful to see, and it’s often hard even for the victims to recognize that they are victims. It’s disgusting. These organizations are run by some of the very worst criminals in our society. They treat human beings as cargo, as commodities to prey upon for a simple profit.”