Did you know that there is an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the United States each year? Shockingly, the number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country is even higher!
“Is it really that bad?” is the question usually asked- the answer is undeniably, “Yes!” According to the 2009 Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking report by Shared Hope International, which reported in-depth on the high prevalence of child sex trafficking in the United States, the number of American children at risk of being pulled into the sex industry is an estimated 200,000. Shockingly, the average age of entry in the sex trade industry in the U.S. is only 12 years old. There is no stereotypical face of slavery; the chains of modern slavery can bind anyone of any gender, race, religion or age. Those trapped by slavery do not have to cross borders to be victimized, for one can be exploited within their own home, community, as well as halfway across the globe. The issue of child trafficking and sexual exploitation has all to often been deemed an international issue, leaving the child victims in the United States overlooked. Therefore, many states continue to inadvertently provide safe havens for sex trafficking, including for minors.
Therefore I was excited to be watching as Shared Hope International announced Protected Innocence Initiative in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday. The long awaited report from the extensive project looked at the sex trafficking legislation in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, and then gave each state a letter grade and full report card. “Each state’s laws show omissions in protective provisions for child victims, and lack strong laws to prosecute the men who rent the bodies of other men’s children,” said former Congresswoman and the President and Founder of Shared Hope International. “Early in our research it was clear that responses to child sex trafficking must originate at the state level. The Protected Innocence Initiative establishes the essential legislative framework that attempts to harmonize the state’s response to the treatment of prostituted children and emphasize the appropriate prosecution of the buyer.”
To read the rest of this article by Bridge to Freedom Foundation's Executive Director and Founder, Cassandra Clifford please follow this link to the Foreign Policy Association's Children's Rights Blog: http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2011/12/03/u-s-states-failing-to-protect-children-from-sexual-exploitation/
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