Recently Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will Smith, produced and hosted a CNN Special Report entitled, “Children for Sale.” Jada has made it one of her missions to address the sexual exploitation of children in America—to stop human trafficking. Jada’s report was raw and shocking as she uncovered the who and the why of children being used in America’s sex trade.
How children ever become vulnerable to being used in America’s sex trade was the core question that Jada addressed. What she uncovered were stories of young women, and increasingly young boys, who for one reason or another become dissatisfied with their home situations. Running away from home is usually the first step toward becoming vulnerable to sexual exploitation. When children find themselves feeling unloved, abandoned, and alone they become prime targets for becoming sexually exploited. What the sex exploiters of children understand is how to befriend, how to feign genuine interest and love, and how to mentally exploit young, impressionable, children who are looking for love and comfort.
For one young girl, her less than satisfactory home life, feelings of low self esteem, and feelings of being bullied, led her straight into the arms of a pimp who promised her a life of nice things and love. The promise of love turned into her admission to Jada that at one point after she was sent into the streets, that she had sex with 40 men in one day. She said that it was that day when her whole body ached from repeated abuse that she realized that she had to get out. Her pimp told her that even if she left that she would be back in 24 hours. He was right. But she eventually did get out with the help of “intervention” by individuals who are on the forefront of extracting children from America’s human trafficking sex trade.
For some individuals selling their bodies on the street began as a promise of a modeling career. There are even women who are active participants in luring young girls into the sex trade where making upwards of $30,000 a week is small change for some pimps. For girls who fall for the “modeling career” many are genuinely looking for a way to use their physical attributes to better themselves. They do not realize until it is too late that selling their bodies is part of the bargain. And even worse, Jada’s story revealed that young girls are moved across the country, to city after city, to meet the sex demand. One grandmother who reported her granddaughter missing found her in another state just as she was about to be put on the street in a town hundreds of miles away.
What is going on in America when individuals will take young women, young women who have their whole lives ahead of them and force them to have sex with as many as 40 men a day—all for the almighty dollar? What is wrong with this picture when a man can take money generated by a woman’s repeated sex act with hundreds of different men and use the money to live a life of luxury, live in fine homes and drive fine cars—all off buying and selling sex? Does this man ever think of his own mother, his sister, his own daughter? Does this man ever think of the inhumanity of “breaking” girls for profit and holding them in bondage? Has this man ever heard of the 250 year history of black slavery in America? And the bigger question, what is wrong with a nation or world of men who would have sex with a woman on the streets, knowing that that same woman has had sex with made 15 men in the same day before him and may 15 more to follow. What value can he place on his own “thang” to go stick it into a cesspool where dozens of other men have already been?
America’s illegal sex trade, also called human trafficking, also called modern slavery, includes young girls being sold for sex as young as 12. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries. America is near the top of the list of this industry.
So how can human trafficking be stopped? Children need to know what human trafficking is. Young boys and girls need to understand the raw and unvarnished details of what can happens when they run away from home and find themselves being “cared for” by a kindly stranger. These children need to know that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” These children need to understand how sexual exploitation and human trafficking unfolds—from a kindly offer to help, to seemingly genuine concern, to drug being administered, to physical abuse, to torture, and finally to sexual bondage. And, children need “intervention” places to escape to so they can extract themselves from bondage when the opportunity presents itself. But above all, children need to avoid ever getting into situations where they can become victims of human trafficking.
Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.