The thought of your child or other children, girls, boys, women, and men being kidnapped is an unsettling feeling that I wished no one would have to endure. But even in today’s world, it’s a definite reality that makes me wonder: will this problem ever go away?
As I sit here gently taping the keys on my computer the news station begins its program at the top of the hour. They bring bad, but not shocking news that a 13-year-old girl has been groomed by a predator and is now missing. Of course, her distraught parents tried everything they can think of when they knew about the man that was violating their daughter’s mind. They called the police, took her cell phone away, kept her from the Internet, but to no avail; their teenage daughter was still being sought after. The parents had dropped her off at school, and she didn’t return home, nor did she attend any of her classes that day. The parents found notes that their daughter had written stating that “her soul and body belonged to him”. The 13-year-old girl was last seen Dec. 3, 2017, on surveillance footage at a bus stop in San Marcos, Texas with an older female companion leaving for Mexico. Children and young teenagers are easily manipulated into doing things they shouldn’t be doing, but the need of attention for or feeling appreciated to obtain the trust of a predator is a common tactic to lure these unsuspecting victims into prostitution, drugs, human trafficking, etc.
There are many forms of sex trafficking, and the grooming process of the perpetrators can go undetected because of the many outlets they can pursue.
For example, there are “pimp-controlled trafficking”, in which a pimp controls their prey both physically and emotionally, and it can become psychologically damaging. The “grooming stage” gains the trust of the victim by making them dependent and relying on the pimp, as the next stage of this process is “a seasoning stage”. The seasoning stage is after the victim gains the trust of the pimp and the victim will be asked to participate in sexual acts, whether it’s on a small or large scale of participation.
Another type of sex trafficking is called “gang trafficking”. This occurs when the victim is controlled by one or more persons and can be sold outside of the gang for its purpose. The gang’s needs or wants can be drug-related, money, sexual gratifications, etc. The gangs can claim ownership of their victims by marking them with tattoos. Many of the victims are lured from middle schools and high schools.
Even family members can create an environment that exploits their own children. These victims may not even be aware that this type of behavior is not normal, and their abuse and exploitation can go undetected.
The traffickers can avoid being detected by laying low at hotels and motels as they can move quickly to a different location in needed and stay hidden in the shadows.
There are many illegal massage parlors in the United States that harbor women being brought to the U.S. who are forced to pay back their debt by participating in prostitution.
Another example of how sex trafficking is performed at a larger scale by certain events is when the NFL Super Bowl is being held in whatever city it is in for that year. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott in 2010 was working as the Texas Attorney General confirmed with USA Today that sporting events and especially the NFL Super Bowl are a “prominent haven for sex trafficking”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that in 2010 in Miami Florida there were about 10,000 prostitutes transported to the Super Bowl and in 2011 in Dallas Texas during the Super Bowl, there were 133 underage arrests for prostitution. That is just a handful of who actually got caught. Just imagine how many more thousands of children and young teenagers, women, and men who are being hidden in the shadows from their pimp, family member, gang, or a stranger who has brainwashed their way of thinking that being exploited is the only life that they must choose.
Sex trafficking can also find it’s victims in the workplace. A high profile news story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct in the workplace has now evolved to charges against Weinstein violating the Federal Sex Trafficking Laws. A British actress, Kadian Noble, filed this civil claim out of New York that in 2014, that Weinstein’s foreign business travels would involve him recruiting or enticing female actors into forced sexual encounters on the promise of roles in film or entertainment projects.
With Kadian filing under the Federal Sex Trafficking Law, a 10-year statute of limitations and the claim being brought from overseas to The United States is allowed.
The London’s Metropolitan Police Service also known as Scotland Yard has confirmed that there are at least twelve reports of the Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Command’s Operation Kaguyak Investigation against Harvey Weinstein. There is a list from USA Today of 83 women that have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, and even rape. Harvey Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
In today’s society, the Internet is another way for perpetrators to solicit their bad behaviors. Facebook is one social media platform that leaves a huge slate for these criminal acts to occur. For example, on Facebook, you can create a “group site” in which you can almost keep it private and the perpetrators will advertise the sexual services in which the victim may not be aware of. This is just absurd! Facebook needs to become liable for allowing such freedom on their platforms where criminal minds love to surge upon.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with sex trafficking and human smuggling and it is everywhere you turn. People need to be observant and spot these perpetrators to bring them to justice and stop the abuse of future victims.
If you know of any child, teenager, women or men who are being groomed or has fallen victim to human trafficking or sex trafficking and is in need of help there are places to contact.
Here are a few that can help:
Call your local police department or 911
To report a tip – www.endslaverynow.org/act/report-a-tip