This is such a sad topic but I believe it's important to address once and awhile, and I think the FBI's missing child day is coming up - so thought
I would wrote a bit on it. I've had some experience with human trafficking - with chance encounters, relatives and friends who track this stuff for a
living, and one in depth study.
Some estimates of the scope of the problem:
Most youth trafficked are estimated to be between the ages of 8 - 18 with the majority detected to be 12 and older. Toddlers and preschool aged
children are trafficked as well. The greater the social taboo the more well hidden the child will be. A 4-year old will be hidden away while a 16-year
old may not - so numbers are impossible to compile for the younger ages. For younger children (aged 3-4) they mainly come from parents in poverty who
either give them away or are tricked - or from the offspring of trafficked victims. There are also those who have disappeared and are still missing
across the world - some of whom are likely trafficked due to the high price they can bring. They are easy to control and transport due to fake
passports and global travel.
Of those detected between 2007-2010, children made up 27% of trafficked victims in the U.S. while for Africa and the Middle East children made up the
majority of victims at 68% (p. 31). This might be explained by children being more out in the open in the later regions due to extreme poverty and
corrupt police who more readily accept bribes.
Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade - 2 million.
50% of transnational victims are minors (those taken across borders).
"In 2006 U.S. attorneys handled 82.8 percent more child pornography cases than they had in 1994." Much of this is due to the internet.
While girls make up the majority of those trafficked boys are not exempt with roughly 10% detected from reports through 2010. The true percentage is
likely higher - boys are less likely to share what has happened to them.
This business is not limited to men - women traffic children too.
Who are the customers - (as reported by victims) -attorneys, judges, police officers, social workers, truck drivers, priests/pastors, construction
workers, Etc - you name it; from all backgrounds and professions.
Why it exists and persists:
Lucrative business - low overhead, endless supply, big money.
Low awareness - by those who use services and the public.
Low ability to detect.
Corruption within the chain of command.
Lack of enough safety nets for escape.
Inconsistent laws to protect victims.
Victims not likely to seek help due to conditioning and/or threats.
Surprisingly - a low percentage of men are thought to drive this industry (with a very tiny percentage of women) - about 20% of the population. Yet it
is growing and spreading.
Some of the explanations by those caught.
Didn't know or deny knowing the person was under aged.
Deny or did not know the person was trafficked.
The person seemed willing - mutual consent.
See it as a a norm and therefore acceptable - might be a party where such things are offered (yes - these parties happen).
Some facts associated with those seeking out minors specifically.
Seek control and domination.
Don't see the person as human in some cases.
Especially with very young children - believe the child loves them and enjoys it.
In almost all cases -
Are ashamed - they know it is wrong
The victims are everywhere - not just in South East Asia or in better known areas of proliferation. Even if it seems it is only spreading across a
certain area this is an illusion. It is not far from any of us.
The victims - could be in your neighborhood. In the US - hotspots are San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, anywhere along the Mexican border, and all
along the coastlines. It has been spreading into more remote spots in recent years. Maps differ on how they report this so couldn't find a good one
that matched what I was told.
The rest of the world - It is just about everywhere and spreading - growing. Hot spots are anywhere there is poverty and opportunity to exploit, such
as high tourist areas. Mexico, SE Asia, The entire Mediterranean area, etc.
As an example of a non touristy area. - Tennencingo Mexico is a town devoted to trafficking. A festival is held each year for trafficking rivals that
is beyond belief. I won't get into those details.
Here are some indicators you might be seeing a trafficked victim. This would be a basic observation or chance interaction with a victim from child on
up. Common sense comes into play with these indicators as they are age and situation dependent (intuition is a good thing).
*Comings and goings from a home where persons appear to be controlled or escorted by others at all times. If men come and go frequently and windows
are opaque or barred this is obviously suspicious.
*Don't have money or possessions.
*Are never alone - someone is either with them at all times or close by.
*The person with them does all the speaking for them.
*Language seems scripted and rehearsed.
*Don't know where they live or where they are from.
*Don't know what city they are in.
*Give inconsistent answers.
*Evidence of self harm or abuse by another (bruises in various stages of healing, cuts). Brands or other scaring.
*Behavior - secretive, nervous, anxious, fearful, dissociative features, submissive, seem confused - anything that seems off that may or may not be
coupled with indicators above. There are more but the overall idea is that these can be indicators if something else seems off.
Here are some kids featured on the FBI's list in 2013. Many look to be stranger abductions.
There is also missing kids link.