I cannot get this terrible thing off my mind. Neither could Susan Norris, so she wrote a book about it, Rescuing Hope, to help her find some peace.
Give someone a camera and they'll give you memories--tangible ones that you can develop and print and keep for as long as the paper keeps. The children of Villas Miravalle, a shelter for sexually abused minors in Guadalajara, Mexico, gave us a set of memories.
What 13-year-old girl wakes up one day and says she wants to be a prostitute when she grows up? That was the question Timea Eva Nagy posed as she addressed the crowd -- a room full of regulatory compliance and anti-money laundering specialists, me included, just last week.
Republican Senators are playing hide and seek with victims of sex trafficking. The U.S. Department of Justice now estimates that approximately 300,000 American children are at risk of being prostituted in the U.S. -- at an average age of 13 or 14.
Girls are sold for sex in this country with the same disregard for human dignity as those other nations, and they are often tortured in the same ways when they try to escape.
It's long overdue that more of us get serious about doing something different with Columbus Day.
At Covenant House, the hemisphere's largest movement of programs and shelter services for homeless and trafficked young people, we see far too many kids who have been forced into prostitution.
I first learned about Nomi Network when I purchased a "Buy her bag, not her body" tote. Trafficking survivors design and manufacture these bags with locally sourced materials such as recycled rice sacks.
If we could do half as good a job of creating a meaningful taboo in the United States around buying and selling young people for sex as we do around smoking, we'd be so much further along the road to eliminating demand.
Such bonds can be harder to break than handcuffs, especially when a young person has been told for years that they aren't worth anything, and they have few skills, no diplomas, and few prospects for supporting themselves outside the sex industry.
As a human rights movement, the anti-trafficking movement must urge for laws, policies, and practices that hold both the trafficker and the buyer accountable for their crimes.
It happens in Boston, Massachusetts. It happens in Kolkata, India. More human beings are currently enslaved than at any time in history.
A U.S. Federal Circuit Court has ruled that customers who arrange for or have sex with children under age 18 are to be considered human traffickers. Wow. That's a big and heavy stick we can use to protect kids who are forced into having sex for someone else's profit.
If we want to fight the sexual exploitation of young people, we absolutely must fight youth homelessness. Kids who don't have a safe place to stay enter a direct pipeline to the pimps and exploiters who recognize their desperation and are waiting to prey on them.
While there are no firm numbers of how much the forced sex and labor trade expands during the week of the Super Bowl, the influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors means more homeless kids may be put at risk. And make no mistake, vulnerable kids are at risk.
When governments fail to tackle the demand side of the commercial sex industry, they not only fail to protect people in prostitution, they also financially benefit through the increased tax income generated from the exploitation of people.