One issue that is important to me is sex trafficking. We hear the stories on occasion of its prevalence, and its victims, but how many of us know who preys upon and buys our most vulnerable? In 2014 I spent several months getting better acquainted with the stories so I could create this package of information. I was unable to find agents in the state of Minnesota who wanted to promote the content to the community, but I offer some of it here.
- Is it okay for a 15-year-old girl to be beaten by a baseball bat because she doesn’t want to have sex with a middle-aged businessman?
- Does it make sense that a 10-year-old girl is arrested for prostitution, rather than rescued?
- Is it okay that a teenager was burned alive in front of girls for trying to escape a trafficker?
- If sex trafficking is a $32-billion industry — growing as the Internet makes it even easier for johns and traffickers to communicate about “menus” — what does that tell us about the demand for finding new girls?
- Why is human trafficking a more lucrative – and safer – trade for gangs than guns and drugs?
“It is a disappointment that we are still counting how many services were provided and how many arrests are made, when what we really need is a laser-like focus on preventing vulnerable children from being ensnared by traffickers in the first place.”
— Carol Smolenski, EPCAT-USA
(End Child Prostitution and Trafficking)
As one police officer said, “ordering a child prostitute is as easy as ordering a pizza.”
“I had normalized sexual violence. Then I was faced with slides at a presentation. I quit eating. My emotions welled up. ‘Why wasn’t I aware that this is such a problem? Why haven’t I seen this before? Why is this issue ignored? Now that I know about it, what am I going to do about it?’… The only real solution to the issues of sexual violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking in our society is to build a stronger network to change our culture. We have to eliminate demand for the abuse and selling of women, girls, boys. We have to make personal choices and take leadership in our communities, in our families. We cannot continue to allow society to sexualize our kids.”
— Jim McDonough, Ramsey County Commissioner