If you have a heart, a soul, a child and/or a conscience – you cannot go another day ignoring the horrors of child sex trafficking. Every 2 minutes a child is sexually exploited. Today is the day that our collective perspective needs to change.
A Few Facts about child prostitution worldwide:
Worldwide, there are an estimated 10 million children engaged in some facet of the sex industry.
162,000 U.S. homeless youth are child prostitutes.
One-third of street-level prostitutes in the U.S. are under 18 years old.
50% of off-street prostitutes are less than 18 years old. Off-street prostitution includes: massage parlors, strip clubs, and escort services.
Investigators and researchers estimate that the average predator in the U.S. can make more than $200,000 per year off one young girl.
A more aggressive approach to this epidemic is needed and it’s needed now! Below is an interview with Mark Langham, anti-sex-trafficking crusader and creator of Conspiracy of Hope.
What is Conspiracy of Hope and how did it begin?
COH is primarily about awareness. We try and bring to light all of the horrific crimes perpetrated against kids around the world in the name of profit. These children are trafficked to and or trapped in brothels, brick kilns, rock quarries, rice mills, and conscripted to fight in illegal wars. They have no voice and so COH is, in essence, a voice for the voiceless. We also raise mon ey for organizations like IJM.org, a full scale anti-injustice task-force and MyRefugeHouse.org, an after care facility for trafficked girls. The entirety of COH funds are dispersed to these and similar anti-trafficking organizations that are dedicated to stemming the tide of this modern slavery that holds 27 million people, a third of them minors, captive at this very moment.
I hope that COH can continue to be all about the victims; rescuing them, restoring their dignity, redeeming their lives, healing their broken hearts and renewing their brutalized minds. I hope that our voice will be heard over the din of the machine of the modern world, and that through relationships with donors we can continue to fund those on the front lines doing the lion’s share of the work.
What is the most alarming statistic regarding sex trafficking?
That the average age a child is trafficked is eleven years old, that that number has a downward velocity, and that the insatiable lust of perverted men sometimes pushes the age a child is first exploited to as low as 4 years old.
What countries are most at fault for propelling forward the sale of human beings?
Western buyers, i.e. the sex tourists, come from first world nations such as the UK, the US and Japan. These men have the big money, they demand the youngest children, and they demoralize the girls and boys the most, since many have hopes of escaping to the West to start a new life. Thailand’s biggest industry is the sex trade and because of the pandemic nature of AIDS there, younger and younger girls are being trafficked from remote villages to be sold at a virgin premium to wealthy businessmen afraid of contracting the virus. Ground Zero for underage prostitution may very well be Mumbai, India, where an estimated 100,000 minors are exploited in the illegal sex trade.
There are of course whole families in bonded labor, who have children born into slavery. The youngest documented sex slave was four years old. There have been reports of cultic activity involving the brutalization of toddlers. The absolute demonic derangement that could cause anyone to rape a baby is unfathomable.
Is there any one story that weighs on your soul more heavily than others?
The story of Chong Ok Sun, age 13
“I had to prepare lunch for my parents who were working in the field and so I went to the village well to fetch water. A Japanese garrison soldier surprised me there and took me away, so my parents never knew what happened to their daughter. I was taken to the police station in a truck, where I was raped by several policemen. When I shouted they put socks in my mouth and continued to rape me. The head of the police station hit me in my left eye because I was crying. That day I lost my eyesight in my left eye. After ten days or so, I was taken to the Japanese army garrison barracks in Heysan City. There were around 400 other Korean young girls with me and we had to serve over 5,000 Japanese soldiers as sex slaves everyday– up to forty men per day. Each time I protested, they hit me or stuffed rags in my mouth. One held a matchstick to my private parts until I obeyed him. My private parts were oozing with blood.” (UN Distr. General report)
What is the biggest misconception about sex trafficking?
Probably that trafficking is a third world problem, relegated to impoverished areas teetering on the brink of anarchy. But there are many trafficking victims in the first world nations; runaways and kids taken from playgrounds, right here in small town America.
You posted a link this week on your website that detailed busts in Thailand, what struck me were the young boys being abused by grown men – is one gender more at risk than another?
Certainly the driving force of the sex trade is young girls but the rate of exploitation for young boys is rising as pedophilia becomes more tolerated and some Middle Eastern nations refuse to admit that this sort of thing goes on within their borders, which only enables and emboldens the rapists.
Describe the underbelly of sex-trafficking in America?
At any given time there are 300,000 homeless kids on the street in America. These kids are at extreme risk for sex-trafficking. Within 48 hours of being on the streets 2/3 of these kids will be approached to enter the illegal sex or porn trade. Many of these kids, out of desperation born of hunger and cold, will fall victim to false promises. Trafficking victims from the former Soviet states are often brought here with the promise of waitressing or nanny jobs and then are locked up, raped until their will is broken, and then forced into prostitution.
There are also an increasing number of Latino house brothels on and around border towns. Again, girls are promised jobs and then trafficked here under those false pretenses only to have their passports and other personal belongings confiscated and then are forced to submit to prostitution. Also in the agricultural sector, there are girls brought in from Mexico to service the itinerant workers. Sometimes the “brothel” consists of a tarp on sticks over a blanket in the middle of a field where a girl is raped 20-30 times a day for 25 or 30 bucks for a 15 minute session. Organized crime, of course, goes where the money is – they are complicit all across our country in the reckless endangerment and unconscionable exploitation of kids.
Help us understand what the sex trade industry looks like in the United States.
The FBI estimates that every year 25,000-50,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the US to be exploited in the illegal sex trade and forced labor and that there are perhaps twice that many American nationals who have been coerced into sexual exploitation. Polaris Project .org, who runs the national Trafficking Hotline (1-888-3737-888), says “Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues of the overall sex industry.” They list several, including: residential brothels, hostess clubs, room salons, online escort services, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs, and street prostitution. One statistic from a 2008 study conducted by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation stated that 46% of the 113 interviewees had bought sex at strip clubs, and a higher percentage, almost 50%, believed that there were girls less than 18 years of age working at the club. Another place that sexual exploitation occurs is truck stops. Pimps force woman of all ages to go cab to cab soliciting sex. The average age for entry into prostitution in the US is 13.
What can we do?
- We can live simpler lives, divesting our resources from ephemeral things and re-investing them into freedom for these precious children.
- We can get involved in advocacy on behalf of these kids by lobbying for reform and asking our congressmen and women to support of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act which funds the Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Office of the State Department.
- We can be voices for the voiceless, and with unceasing, relentless determination we can fight for their freedom as if they were our own children.
- And we can pray – because all of hell’s unholy horde is hungry, loose and on the prowl; and as always, hell prefers to feast on the innocent flesh of children.
Anything you’d like to add?
I just want to thank all of the volunteers that have given of their time, their resources, and their heart to help COH in our cause. I’d also like to thank Erica Boonstra for her work on behalf of IJM to champion US legislation that will give our country the tools it needs to stop child-trafficking. I’d like to thank Crystal Sprague and her staff for their work in Cebu, Philippines restoring the shattered lives of trafficked girls at My Refuge House. And a special thanks to Shannon and Hollywood Republican for helping us be a voice for the voiceless.
We cannot ignore the screams of our children any longer – please pass this link (or any of the other links listed within this post). Get the word out, be an advocate from your computer and demand that our leaders listen to the voices of the voiceless!