What is Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking?

Complimentary Story
   An 11 year old girl in an American city hasn’t eaten any food in days. Her mom is a drug addict, homeless and moves from boxes to an occasional homeless shelter. The little girl is searching the streets and alleys for anything food-like. A man in a van offers the little girl a sandwich if she gets in his van. Her hunger pains overrule any caution. Once in the van, the man tells her “nothing in life is free” and commences to rape her.  When he is finished, he gives her the sandwich. He tells her they make a good team and begins to sell her body on the average of ten times a day to other men who want a young girl for sex. He keeps all the money and the little girl gets a sandwich and a roof over her head.

   A 12 year old girl is about to pay for a smoothie for herself and two friends at the local mall. The tall handsome young man behind her puts the money down and pays for the drinks and asks if he can join the girls. The girls are thrilled that the successful young business man, in his twenties, is interested in them as he visits with them but demonstrates particular interest in one of the young girls. When the girls have to leave, the man asks for the one girl’s phone number. She doesn’t have a phone and her grandparents have strict rules about callers. He suggests meeting at the mall next Saturday and she agrees.

   The girl can’t quit thinking about the man all week and when her grandfather drops her off at the mall, the man is waiting at the same booth with the same smoothie she had the previous Saturday. He hugs her and kisses her on the cheek as he tells her she has been on his mind everyday. She is flattered and chills go though her body as he hands her a box and asks her to open it. They look like diamond earrings; they are, he affirms, and it may sound funny, he tells her, but already he really deeply cares for her. 

   As they talk, he learns her hopes and dreams, among them dancing professionally. He just happens to have a friend who owns a dance studio where she could audition that night but she will have to lie to her grandparents telling them she is staying overnight with a friend. Clothing is not an issue as he says he will buy her new clothes and a dancing outfit at the mall. She agrees to go. The girl is sold for sex multiple times to the patrons of the “dance studio” that night and other locations for endless nights to come. She is caught in the powerful grip of a Romeo pimp and she will not be going home. 

  These are only two examples of how children are swept into prostitution or domestic minor sex trafficking. There are many ways the pimps use to attain 100,000 to 300,000 children every year in the United States. The average age of a person entering prostitution today in the U.S. is 12 years old. 

   Who are the people that are buying children for sex? They are mostly men, 99%.   Most are married with children of their own, they have an average to high IQ, 47% are college educated, they age from 18 to 89 years old with the average age being 42.5, 85% prefer female, 15% male, they are found in every profession, every social class and in all areas of society. They are doctors, attorneys, professional athletes, CEOs, ministers and the dad next door. (from: Invading the Darkness. Inside the Historic Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking in the United States.) 

   In 2015 the Department of Justice estimated there were 300,000 children aged 10 to 17 being sexually exploited through the sex trafficking industry. These are domestic minor sex trafficked victims. I believe it would be safe to push that to 700,000 to over a million today. These young girls and boys (at least 18% of victims are boys) are rented out 10-15 times a day and see none or very little of the $99 billion generated annually. Their pimps keep the money; the children get the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter which can be removed to punish them into compliance. Drugs are also used to induce compliance. These young girls and boys are the epitome of the definition of sexual exploitation. 

  I hope you are thinking, “How can this be true?” It gets far worse. Let’s say either one of the two girls in my examples were caught with a 45 year old man who paid to have sex with him or her. The child would be, more than likely, arrested and charged with prostitution, delinquency and probably several other charges. The “john” would basically be told he should know better and to go home. If the man was arrested, statistics show he would serve no time and most likely his sentence, if any, would be acquitted. The pimp, undetected, would wait for the girl to be released. Most likely he will beat the child and dish out other punishments like burning them with cigarettes and depriving them of food and hygiene by locking them in a closet for several days, all for getting caught and costing the pimp money. 

   I hope you are now saying out loud, “Oh God, How can this be?!”  Although laws are beginning to change, they have a long way to go. The very first thing the general public and all levels of politicians and law enforcement have to do is to stop viewing children age 17 and under, engaged in sex trafficking, as prostitutes or hookers. They are not! They are victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. These children have no where to run.  Some girls are seen in the line in front of the abortion clinic, they see the signs and the words of condemnation and are silent in their knowledge that if they do not obey their pimp and get this abortion they will be tortured until they comply and if they don’t some police officer could find their dead body in a dumpster or back alley.

   We have to change the way we think about these children and offer hope. There is a small organization in Wisconsin called Damascus Road — and Million Kids, in California — and an international organization, Shared Hope International, that walk the streets and offer hope, safe housing and rehabilitation to these children. There are some others but they can not meet the need, but these warriors try.

  There are 750,000 abortions a year. I wonder, often, how many are carried out by the direction of a controlling, domineering and merciless pimp. As believers we, of all people need a spiritual check up in our thinking. These children are in bondage, held captive in the hellish world of domestic minor sex trafficking, they are exploited, sexually assaulted and abused. They need a safe place to go. They need to be rescued and carried to safety. They need way more than signs and Bible verses. They need unconditional love from someone who will not exploit or abuse them any more. They have trauma bonds and post traumatic stress syndrome.

   Talk to your state law makers and have them put services in place to rescue and rehabilitate these children and stop charging them and treating them as criminals, treat them and protect them as the victims of sexual assault that they are. Support the efforts of organizations on the street trying to intervene, rescue and provide safe haven to sex trafficked minors. 

  The laws need to be deeply strengthened in regard to the buyer or “john.”  The same laws that protect a minor and prosecute a person that has sex with any minor should apply to any person that pays money to have sex with a minor, period. Why doesn’t it work that way? I have found no answer except the response “talk to your state law makers and have them pass laws that would specifically make that happen.” Law enforcement can make arrests, but they need iron clad laws to put together charges that will end in a conviction. Tell your state law makers to make that happen. And while you’re speaking to law makers, why not ask them to make it mandatory for convicted “johns,” using a minor sex trafficked child, after they have served their jail or prison time, to undergo treatment for sexual addiction and treatment for sex offenders, at their own expense and as a condition of parole? I know men who have been in prison and who currently are, because they were in possession of pictures of minors engaged in sexual exploitation. Why in the world are the men who rent minors for live, in person, sex let go free?  

   If all these things were in place the offenders picture would also appear in their local newspaper several times along with  the reason why.  Just the stiffening of the laws could have a great effect on reducing the demand. If we could eliminate the demand there would not be sex trafficked children. To make it easy you can go to www.sharedhope.org and contacting your state law makers is made easy with the laws they are promoting for all 50 states. You can also review where your state is at on a grading system. Currently the state I live in, Wisconsin, has improved to a “B” rating but we need to see all states at an “A+”. Never forget that a personal call or a face to face talk will always accomplish more than an email. But please do something!

  If you are reading this and you struggle in this area, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. There are many men and some women that have difficulty in controlling their sexual desire. Some are absolutely powerless to stop their behavior. There is hope and help. The important thing for you is to seek that help before the addiction and its behavior, bring you to the place that it destroys your and others’ lives.  It will not get better on its own and you have probably already tried everything you know how to stop it on your own.

   Addiction is a downward spiral until there is intervention. Google search, “Sex Addicts Anonymous,” or “Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous,” or “Sexaholics Anonymous” and look for the phone number of a contact person in your area. These are all people who have walked in your shoes and will connect you with self help groups near you. Seriously, you have not done anything these people cannot relate to. There you will really learn you are not alone and you will find friendly support, help, encouragement and no doubt, professional help that members of that group have and are using near where you live. If you are afraid, contact me and I will help you all I can.  Do something to help yourself end the powerlessness in your life today. 

  The pimp: what do we do with them? Have you ever seen one? You probably have. They don’t look like the movie version of the long coat and the feather plumed hat.  Some are high school or college aged kids and are typical in appearance.  Some look like the typical mid class businessman or woman. When I saw pictures of today’s pimps they looked like the everyday, normal people I see on any day. They were young, middle aged, male and female. One would never guess they were driven by greed and would do anything necessary to obtain, control, abuse and use children to sell for sex. It is all about the money. 

   The pimps refer to the children under their control as their “stable.”  They don’t view them even as people.  Many of the pimps brand the members of their stable so other pimps know who they belong to. The brands are usually tattoos, usually on the back of the neck or shoulder, sometimes down the back or ankle, some are even bar codes, and all indicate they are not their own, they are the possession of the pimp.  By any chance are you recalling history?  This is what slave owners did before the civil war. Here we are in the twenty first century and most think slavery was abolished after the Emancipation Proclamation. Actually there are more slaves today than ever before in history. Roughly 30 million people today are held and abused against their will. It generates 150.2 billon dollars in illegal profits each year, 52.5 billon dollars from forced labor and 99 billon dollars from sexual exploitation.  After drug trafficking, human trafficking is now tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world. I believe our laws need to treat pimps as the high level criminals that they are. For pimps that possess and sell children, I do not think, life in prison is too much to ask. Please talk to your state and federal law makers. 

   Lastly do all you can to stop the demand. Don’t click, don’t buy. Don’t click on anything on your computer  that is sexually suggestive, including advertising pictures or for chatting, and don’t buy anything that has sexually suggestive pictures or content and certainly don’t buy a human being for sex. Do your part and spread the word. If enough people don’t click and don’t buy, the demand for pornography and sex trafficking will lessen and God willing come to an end. For God sake, do something!

  Lynn Fredrick is the author of Stand Firm. From the Darkness of Pornography and Sexual Sin into the Light of God’s Grace. He is a speaker on the dangers of porn, its ties to sex trafficking and how pimps solicit children. www.LynnFredrick.com  W8756 Townline Road, Ladysmith, WI 54848. 

Learn how to email this article to others