On August 8, 2012, the office of the Ohio State Attorney General issued a report on sex trafficking in that state. The report, from the Ohio Human Trafficking Commission, reveals that most young teen victims who were lured into trafficking were likely to homeless teens who had run away from home to escape child abuse and neglect, exposure to the sex trade business at home … even rape. Over 67% of these young victims were sold before age 15; 12% were sold before age 12. That report was covered in an article by Jessica Shor, staff writer for the Toledo Blade, on August 9.
It is a sad truth that these astonishing figures are not unique to Ohio. Many of our youth will never have the opportunity to enjoy positive experiences growing up. The report confirms that these child victims were unlikely to have experienced intervention by family or social services … they were all alone, with noone to help them.
Sex trafficking is the second largest criminal endeavor next to illegal drugs in America. In the U.S. alone, this industry yields upwards of $13 billion a year – and it uses our children like “human ATM’s,” in the words of Mr. Robert Owens, whose company actively seeks out perpetrators of sex crimes against youth.
The statistics found in the Ohio sex trafficking report are startling in terms of how little agencies do for these victims. In fact, “... only 19% [of sex trafficking victims] reported involvement with child protective services at any point in their lives ….” Despite support by our taxpayer dollars, the few agencies who do try to help are often overwrought with insufficient funding and inefficient human resources to cover all the damage these predators and pedophiles are doing to America’s children - America’s future.
Now, if only the rest of America’s media would imitate the courage shown by the Toledo Blade and Ms.Shor, who knows? We might begin to make a difference in the lives of these children.