Today, I came across this article by editor Joe Carter: “Nine Things You Should Know About Human Trafficking.”
Some of the source links in that article are now defunct, so here are the quotes in the original article (used with permission), along with the proper links. I have expressed my own thoughts below the quotes.
Modern-day slavery, also referred to as “trafficking in persons,” or “human trafficking,” describes the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe.
For most of human history slaves were expensive, the average cost being around the equivalent of $40,000. Today, the average slave costs around $90.
A 2003 study in the Netherlands found that, on average, a single sex slave earned her pimp at least $250,000 a year.
Trafficking in persons is estimated to be one of the top-grossing criminal industries in the world (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking), with traffickers profiting an estimated $32 billion every year.
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, it is more profitable for a trafficker to prostitute a child than to commit other crimes such as dealing in drugs. “For one, the commodity (child) is reusable. In addition, technological innovation has allowed traffickers to reach a wider client base and connect more quickly with buyers.”
Human trafficking disproportionately affects communities of color. Including here in the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that over 77 percent of trafficking victims in the United States are people of color. According to a report by the FBI, confirmed sex trafficking victims were more likely to be white (26%) or black (40%), compared to labor trafficking victims, who were more likely to be Hispanic (63%) or Asian (17%). Four-fifths of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens (83%), while most confirmed labor trafficking victims were identified as undocumented aliens (67%) or qualified aliens (28%).
Nearly half of all incidents investigated by U.S. law enforcement agencies between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010, involved allegations of adult prostitution (48%). Forty percent involved prostitution of a child or child sexual exploitation. Fourteen percent of cases contained allegations of labor trafficking.
(See above source)
Traffic of children in Asia assumes a more significant proportion of overall trafficking than in other regions of the world. Younger children are found in the sex industry as customers seek to avoid AIDS, and much Asian sex tourism features children and minors of both sexes. In India, children are maimed to be more effective beggars. In China, babies are trafficked for adoptions abroad, with boys commanding more than girls. In Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the Philippines, children are trafficked as child soldiers.
The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. According to Shared Hope International, children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night, though some service providers report girls having been sold to as many as 45 buyers in a night at peak demand times, such as during a sports event or convention. Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim who is rented for sex acts with five different men per night, for five nights per week, for an average of five years, would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution.
This is the face of what is known as sex trafficking.
Recently, someone alluded to me having been “sex trafficked” as a child. But I have never nor will ever refer to myself as having been the victim of sex trafficking because, as outlined above, what is commonly known as “sex trafficking” looks and sounds different than what I went through, particularly if one looks at the definition: “commercial sex acts.” I don’t remember being used in that way (“commercially”), therefore, I don’t consider myself to have been sex trafficked.
I had a home, even though we moved around a lot.
I had a mother and a father-figure at home for most of the years growing up (assuming a very loose definition of “father figure,” of course).
I went to school regularly, for the most part, and even graduated from high school two years early.
I wasn’t forced to walk the streets, drumming up customers for cash to give to my pimp, or some other similar scenario such as what is documented in the above links.
I can relate, however, to a lesser degree, of what it is like to be exploited as a child for sexual gratification by multiple people, even though I was raised within what seemed to be a “normal” family environment.
I was sexually abused on a regular basis, and sometimes passed around to others, either for profit
(and “for profit” doesn’t always equal “money,” in case you don’t know)
for future blackmail opportunities
(nothing is quite as effective for most as photographic evidence of pedophilia to keep those people quiet about the group’s activities)
and for rituals and programming.
So… in my opinion of my personal life experiences, this is a different scenario than what is commonly known as “sex trafficking.”
You, of course, may have a different opinion regarding your own life experiences. But I’m just saying that for me, I don’t consider what I went through to be sex trafficking.
I did see other children who were probably used for the sole purpose of sex trafficking.
(And I say “probably,” because as a child, no one took the time to explain the things I saw and experienced. So I’m basing my present claim of those children who were “probably used for sex trafficking” on past memories I had as a child that I have now processed through as an adult.)
Some were chained to metal poles and forced into sexual acts with animals. Memories of this are connected to the man I refer to as “Baldy” and a particular “party” he hosted.
Others were locked away in cages in a type of underground “warehouse” of sorts, being held prisoner for who knows how long, and likely transported to who knows where. Memories of this are related to a place in Death Valley known as “Scotty’s Castle.”
I have yet to write in detail about these things because, first of all, I’m not ready to take the time to fully process everything — to take all those snapshots of memory and piece them together — in order to adequately write about it in a way that makes sense to you, the reader. It’s too difficult at this time. And second, I just can’t seem to find the right words to tell you about it without being obscenely graphic.
So although I did see children who were probably being sex trafficked, I do not remember going through that myself. Aside from the constant sexual abuse at home at the hands of my stepfather and, on a few occasions, his coke-snorting buddy, most of the sexual abuse I went through was for the purposes of rituals and programming.
So is that sex trafficking? Speaking only for myself, I don’t think it is. But maybe I’m in denial….
I can certainly agree, however, that my experiences as a child could be related to sex trafficking. But the definition of “sex trafficking” would have to be made broader in order for me to feel comfortable using that label for myself, although I usually abhor labels anyway.
So, hopefully this “sets the record straight” about my own past concerning sex trafficking, because for some baffling reason, some people want to sensationalize what I have been through. It seems the truth isn’t good enough for some, so they are compelled to embellish my story in order to— to what?! I don’t know! To make it more appealing, I guess…?
I’m just not sure why some people have the urge to embellish what I’ve shared, but it’s becoming an unexpected and very frustrating aspect of sharing my testimony.
But that aside, the main purpose of this post is to share what sex trafficking actually is, and to make sure people can find the proper links to the above information, because modern-day slavery, including sex trafficking, is a huge problem within every society across the earth that many people don’t understand, don’t recognize, nor do they want to even admit is an actual problem!