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Friday, February 1, 2013

Sexual Exploitation of Children – Reasons for the Growing Epidemic




Victims of modern day slavery are controlled through force, fraud and coercion at the benefit of their trafficker, who profits from their exploitation. Often, these predators offer false promises of money or a certain lifestyle. Victims, particularly young girls, can be “groomed” into modern day sex slavery. In America, we see victims of domestic minor sex trafficking often coerced into slavery by “Romeo Pimps” or boyfriends who convince minors that they love them and then proceed to manipulate that false love in order to sell their bodies for sex on the streets. From that point, threats of violence keep these victims compliant and living in fear.

When a child is trafficked, they become the property of the exploiter, have no human or individual rights, and do not have the strength or support to escape. In cases where a victim is trafficked across international borders, threats can be made for being undocumented, whereby the trafficker tells the victim they can be jailed, and then abused and raped by police as well.

Children are victims of this crime that offers traffickers high rewards and low risk. As a result, human trafficking is considered the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today, compared to drug and illegal arms trade. The reason for its rising prevalence is due to the illusive nature of the crime, the difficulty in prosecuting such cases, and the relatively light penalties for human trafficking.

Legislation is improving and new measures are being introduced to strengthen trafficking laws across the nation. While these measures are imperative to the well-being and protection of child sex slaves, their exploiters are masters of their trade. 

Technology & The Internet 

An increase reliance on the Internet and communication devices has changed the nature and scope of traditional pimping and pandering. As a result of online and mobile platforms, human trafficking knows no borders. Geography and availability is no longer a barrier. Technology has taken commercial sexual exploitation of children off the streets & onto the Internet. This modern approach is impairing visibility and increasing mobility while subsequently enhancing the sophistication of the CSEC marketplace.

  • In 2005, the US Census Bureau estimated that 24.5 million children across the Nation, between ages of 10 and 17, use the Internet.
  • 1 in 7 (or about 3 million children) receives an online sexual solicitation or approach. 
Technology and the Internet fuel the widespread movement of victims and offenders in response to market demand. It increases the transitory nature of CSEC cases, impeding law enforcement’s ability to:

  • Locate victims and traffickers;
  • Identify essential witnesses and evidence;
  • Share important information and intelligence.

Profitability 

CSEC offers traffickers big money and little risk. The Internet grants greater access to children and unattainable profits. Even small time traffickers make big time money. As a result, drug dealers, gangs, and organized crime are lured from traditional pursuits into the big business of CSEC. Now, drug dealers are dealing children instead of dope. Sadly, today there is no better return on money than selling a child for sex. 

Language 

The misuse of language in how we describe CSEC disguises profit for traffickers and harm to victims. Terms like “prostitute” or “pimp” inaccurately portray the multi-million dollar industry of child abuse. Only trafficker’s profit from these labels, popular culture perpetuates false stereotypes and causes harm. 

Organization 

Agencies and organizations often work in silos, whereas traffickers operate in a vastly interrelated network. As a result, traffickers often elude law enforcement, and present themselves to their victims as the only ones who care about them. Thus, victims are left with little trust in child serving professionals due to this inadvertent negligence that comes from the lack of a coordinated system response. 

Victimology of CSEC 

CSEC are hard to manage because they do not identify themselves as victims of sexual exploitation. Various factors play into that belief. CSEC victims don’t know what love looks like and are looking for love in all the wrong places. Psychological manipulation and domination creates trauma bonds from the victim to their exploiter, and further impairs recovery and prosecution efforts. Many are unwilling to cooperate with law enforcement, and will not testify against their pimp. Understanding CSEC victimology is the key to effectively managing CSEC victims and cases. 

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Did you know CQI staff is available to make presentations in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Our subject matter experts will present to companies, civic and non-profit groups, profession and faith-based organizations, schools and parent groups about CSEC as well as Online and Personal Safety. Contact us at info@childquest.org with the subject line “PRESENTATION” or call us at 408-287-4673.  

Writers: BAHC & Anthony Gonzalez | Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International. 

Related Post: 

Human Trafficking (CSEC) Myth Busters

Runaways& Sex Slavery: What You Need To Know


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