CNN documentary -- Selling the girl next door

January 23, 2011 Aired at 8 PM EST

CNN’s Amber Lyon investigates teen trafficking in America

CNN’s investigative reporter, Amber Lyon hosted a documentary entitled “Selling the girl next door.”

According to their press releases, this broadcast would:

“Selling the Girl Next Door takes viewers into the world of underage American girls caught up in the violent sex trade. Hundreds of thousands of girls under the age of 18 are ensnared into lives of prostitution annually, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Many are runaways or “throwaways” trapped in “the oldest profession” by pimps who sell them using modern sales and marketing techniques.

In a year-long investigation, CNN correspondent Amber Lyon reveals the devastating realities of the business of underage sex – speaking to a young teen runaway sold online from a Las Vegas hotel, the men that obsessively seek Internet sex connections, and women long into careers as sex workers who were trafficked as teens or children.”

Did this program live up to the promise?

A superficial examination of the surface of a much greater problem

That’s my considered opinion.

Once again, like the FBI’s “Innocence Lost Campaign” this so-called in-depth investigation deals only with the most visible elements of a dark trade. We are told for the thousandth time, this problem affects mostly “runaways” and “throwaways.” In other words, the victims themselves are partially to blame for their own victimization.

Yes, in my experience many of the victims have deep underlying problems, but to suggest the child trafficking trade which gobbles up hundreds of thousands of children every year affects only those who are already at risk and on the streets is to deny both the scope and the organization of a much greater industry. Of the victims I’ve worked with, most were not runaways, not street kids – they were taken. Until we recognize this basic truth, we will never begin to deal with this growing threat to our children.

Please, if you have not already done so, take a moment to read the hub, “The Rape Trade” linked here for your convenience, before reading further. The scope of child-trafficking extends far beyond what you’re led to believe.

waiting, waiting, waiting...

Welcome back.

Now you understand this is a multi-tiered industry, and individual pimps and their victims, those for sale on the internet and on the streets represent only one facet of a burgeoning and highly profitable business.

Further, I take exception to the headline “teen trafficking.” The most insidious aspect of child trafficking is that the true victims of this hidden trade are far younger than that. And for all the obvious reasons, there is no overt advertising on the internet, no pictures, no headlines of “new booty in town.”

Certainly communication exists, but according to those involved in the difficult attempt of ferretting out pedophiles, it is all in code. It is completely underground and involves children as young as infants and up to puberty.

Worse, it is widespread.

I am currently in correspondence with a now-grown mother of six who was prostituted out at the age of five. Is she an anomaly? Sadly, no.

For those that live long enough to pass puberty, the next step is the internet, the streets and a pimp. “Teen trafficking” is old for the child sex trade.

Having said all this, I want to commend Ms. Lyons for an excellent expose of the on-line trafficking of underage girls. What she fails to see is that many, possibly most were not runaways or throwaways, but survivors of a much earlier exploitation.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at what she found.

Amber sells herself online

Using an existing ad as a guide, Amber sets up a posting for herself on the site “Backpage,” using all the ‘codes’ that denote a young girl. Fresh! Innocent! New face! (As though it is the face for sale.)

She uses a picture of herself wearing a bikini at the age of fourteen.

“It was awkward,” she says, laughing, “to call my father and ask him for a photo of me when young to post online…”

The Inter-net pimps

Apparently, when Craigslist was finally made to understand they were a party to the exploitation of children, and reluctantly and under duress removed the “Adult Services” section from their website, Backpage became the site of choice for pimps and their wares. .

Before you ask, don’t they care about the suffering and destruction they are a party to, the answer is no. There’s a dollar to be made. Nor do the customers. Explains one law-enforcement person:

“The girls are just objects to these men, to be used as they wish and discarded. Everyone involved from site owners to pimps is making big money selling these children. There is never any thought to their welfare. “

How effective is this advertising?

Amber's Backpage posting

The johns, or as they should be called, the would-be rapists of children

Within four minutes of posting her ad, Amber’s phone begins to ring.

She makes it abundantly clear she is underage, sometimes claiming to be sixteen, other times seventeen. She asks one caller, “How old are you?”

“Thirty four,” he answers.

“I’m sixteen,” Amber says.

“Oh,” responds the caller and hangs up, probably smelling a rat. The nature of the ad makes it evident he is soliciting the services of a young girl, and no streetwise pro would announce that fact on a cell phone.  Those that pursue sex with children are all too aware of the traps set by law-enforcement.

The viewer can’t help but be shocked by the number of calls Amber takes in a very short time, most of them explicit about what they want.

Then a real lulu calls up. The accent is Southern, the voice most definitely that of a fully-mature man. He calls himself Ron.

“I’m underage,” Amber tells him. “I can’t drink. I’m seventeen.”

I want to....

"Why on earth would I want to have sex with a seventeen-year-old woman?" asks the john in a tone that more than suggests he's hoping the answer is a list of good reasons to do so.

"No one would have to know." Amber.

"That's just what I was saying." The john.

"So what do you want?" Amber

"What do I want? I want to f*** you. Don't you want to f*** me?"

A cross-country tour

You can go to an interactive map posted on the CNN site -- linked to the right -- and follow Ms. Lyon’s travels across the country:

“Share Lyon’s coast-to-coast journey – from Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and Nevada – trailing runaways, finding their families, meeting sex workers, and visiting a “johns’ school” where convicted solicitors are forced to face the social and criminal consequences of their actions.”

At one point she visits the famous Paradise Ranch in Nevada, interviewing brothel owner Dennis Hof. He has much to say about pimps and none of it good. Amber Lyons interviews the ranch’s sex workers, all of them mature women, all of them veterans of the seedier side of the sex trade, and though we are expected to be surprised but only a complete innocent would be, most of them survivors of childhood sex exploitation.

One woman spoke of her experience of serial rape at age ten, another at eleven, both of them with tears running down their faces as they recall. One thing is sure, these women did not choose the sex trade as a rational career choice.

Lyons is quick to point out that these sex-workers in the legal brothel are protected, receive one half of their earnings, medical benefits and ongoing health screening.

At this point I begin to lose interest in the program. This is very old news, and there is no one with any connection to the sex trade, even those who only counsel the victims, who doesn’t believe legalized brothels are the answer – at least for those grown up enough to make the choice.

But then, the program becomes interesting again.

We go to visit girls recently “rescued” from the sex trade, a term for which you can read arrested.

The girls you see below, handcuffed, shackled and wearing chains around their middle range in age from 12 to 16 -- too young to drink, to drive, to consent to a sexual transaction but apparently not too young to be locked in a bleak cell and walk about in chains.

They are children. They are the victims!

Haven't we lost sight of something here?

Do you share my outrage at seeing these young girls, already victimized, traumatized and needing help treated as felons? It curdles my blood.

Lyons shows us the minimal cells in which the children spend most of their time, a stainless steel toilet with a sink mounted directly above it, a concrete shelf with a four inch mattress, a rough blanket and maybe four square feet of floor space. The walls are cinderblock; the narrow window is barred and the steel door has a reinforced glass window, allowing the girls no privacy at all. Whenever they are out of their cells, they wear chains.

I am shocked. I am appalled. This is beyond my experience, not to mention my understanding. Where I come from, minors involved with the justice system are not treated this way. The provinces of Canada in which I’ve worked have special facilities for at-risk children, and while they may be secure, they are most definitely not prisons. There are no chains and shackles.

These girls need counseling, need help, evaluations, professional assessment and above all, a chance to be children again.

What is going on here?

Meet Judge Voy

Las Vegas has a severe problem to contend with when it comes to prostitution of all varieties, and certainly with the trafficking of children. Perhaps the underage sex trade fits in with the whole “what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas so let it all hang out and party hearty” mentality.

It’s Vegas’s own version of sex tourism.

For whatever the reason, more underage prostitutes end up facing the courts here than most places. (And large as those numbers might be, they are but a tiny fraction of those still being peddled on the internet, or the street.)

“Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) -- Every week, Judge William Voy of the Clark County Juvenile Court in Las Vegas holds a special session for underage sex trafficking victims picked up by police in Las Vegas.

Most are runaways, controlled by pimps. And every week Voy faces the same problem: where to put them. Under the law they're considered victims.

The right thing to do is get them help, but most times he can't, because there's nowhere to put them.

"We can't get to the next level," says Voy. "And it's extremely frustrating."

For those hundreds of thousands of girls in need, according to a Justice Department report released in the fall, there are 50 beds in facilities capable of dealing with their complex and deeply entrenched problems.

“For five years, Voy has been trying to change that in his city by building a specialized residential home for the hundreds of girls who go through his court every year.

"It's not a detention center, it's not an institution," says Voy, showing us architectural drawings on a vacant lot where the house would be built. "It looks like another wealthy homeowner in Vegas, right? And that's what we want it to look like. These kids are messed up in a lot of different ways. And they need a lot of help."

He has private donors willing to pay for the building and the land, but Clark County has so far refused to come up with the $750,000 needed to staff the place with uniformed officers. -- CNN press release

A new bill that passed both houses of Congress last year would provide $45 million over four years for these kinds of services, a small amount of money given the need, but at least a start.

But that bill, the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act, never made it to the president's desk, and now that there's a new Congress, it will have to start from square one.

My own research found out that present federal funds for victims of trafficking are reserved for foreign women and children.

American girls are left out in the cold. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 underage American girls being sold for sex in America. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) around 14,000 to 17,000 women and children are imported into the country for the sex trade.

One wonders at the strange setting of priorities here.

Lyons' interview with a thirteen-year-old victim of trafficking

The girl pictured to the left is thirteen and has been prostituted off and on for over a year. She is bound to a pimp and "the game" with that typically unfathomable, compulsive attachment we often find in young trafficked girls.

Amber Lyons interviews her.

What first struck me about this girl is her flat attitude and complete lack of emotion. This is common in abused children. She responds to Lyon’s questions with a listlessness, a lifeless quality.

“How many men would you see in a day?” Lyons

“Two to five. Most days two or three.” Girl responds with eyes focused up, and a grimace about the mouth.

“How did that make you feel?” Lyons

Another grimace. Eyes darting about.

“Didn’t that make you feel bad?” Lyons

“Well yeah. It was pretty bad. I felt…. Yucky.” Another grimace.

She could have been answering questions about a field trip to the zoo.

I watched and thought about how I would evaluate this girl. First, appearance: She does not seem either nervous or self-conscious. Quite the contrary – she appears to be elsewhere. She chews her lips. She does not make eye contact either with Lyons or the camera. She is detached. Her responses are mere echoes of Lyons’ leading questions. The girl is quite overweight.

Everything about her suggests she has long ago given up her sense of self. Her weight would lead me to believe she was sexually abused at some point in the past, before the running and prostitution – weight is protection in the minds of young children. Her facial twitches, the movement of her mouth at the end of each sentence, the not-quite-at-home look in her eyes – this is a very troubled girl.

I would believe that during sexual encounters, she is removed, far away, not inside her skin. The johns do as they wish, but it is not happening to her, only to her body.

Much about her reminds me of a girl of similar age who ran away from a good foster home, an excellent placement with a single women who had taken courses and trained to provide care to girls recovering from the streets. When I asked her why she’d left the home and returned to the streets, she said, “I couldn’t stay there. It was too nice.”

I would guess both girls suffer from severe self-loathing and no self-esteem, seeking confirmation of their low self-image in the abuse, danger and humiliation of the trade. Finding affirmation in punishment, courting it, deliberately seeking degradation… seeing herself as bad, dirty, low and only good for….

Certainly, this girl’s mother doesn’t understand. During Lyon’s interview, the mother spoke of her daughter as uncontrollable. “No matter what, the minute she finds a chance, she’s gone – running.” There is, she insists, no reason for it. She shows us the girl's baby pictures.“I don’t know why.”

There’s definitely more than meets the camera to this story.

Personally, I find the mother’s willingness to speak of her daughter’s life as a prostitute on national television quite telling. Let alone giving permission for the girl, herself, to be interviewed.

I’d like to write to her and ask her why she’s done this. I wouldn’t. It’s hard enough for a girl to come back from such degradation without splashing the whole affair across the entire country -- and much of the world.

The mother seems more interested in absolving herself of blame than in helping her child. When this girl grows up, how is she going to feel about the public exposure? “When I was thirteen and messed up, I was arrested for prostitution and my mother gave permission for CNN to put it on TV.” I don’t think I’d forgive such an action.

I see in this a clue as to the dynamics that led the child to such a life.

When last we see this girl, she stands before Judge Voy, weeping and crying like the little girl she is, saying “All I want to do is go back home.” (Home is Detroit.)

The mother is immediately negative.

We see the frustration on the judge’s face. His options are limited. I’m sure he sees what I see in the child. She is badly damaged. Wounded. Messed up.

And there’s nowhere for her to get what she needs.

Acknowledgments

Selling the Girl Next Door was produced by Steve Turnham. Courtney Yager was associate producer. Kathy Slobogin is managing editor for CNN’s Special Investigations and Documentaries unit. Scott Matthews is the executive producer for the unit.

I applaud CNN for this attempt to wake up the public to what goes on every day, in every city. One day, I hope we stop thinking this a problem of the unfortunate and nothing to do with us.

A true measure of the evolution of a society is how the weak among us are protected. Surely this applies even more to our children -- our future.

Thank you for reading. Lynda M Martin

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Comments 59 comments

resspenser profile image

resspenser 5 years ago from South Carolina

Another great hub! Thanks for sharing, Lynda. You keep holding America's feet to the fire. Hopefully we'll eventually get it.


DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

DRG Da Real Grinc 5 years ago from All over the USA

I'm awed that a website is a gateway that still exist. We have so much power and we can't use it to stop this. It seems not to many people are aware, it's great they ran it on TV.

Good Hub


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

The problem with this disgusting practice is how many governments turn a blind eye to it. Much like the drug traffic trade, it's condoned by big business and governments. The world has become pretty lawless. Great hub.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Those poor children. It's horrifying!

I watched a documentary about kidnapped girls being trafficked in Eastern Europe. Also very, very scary.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi respenser, Thanks. Not only is the wholesale trafficking of children repulsive -- look at the numbers, but that we do so little to recover them is equally appalling. Having first hand experience with such girls, I know the damage done to them.

Hi DRG. Yes, everything is for sale on the internet. Thanks.

Hi BobbiRant, True. The world has not become lawless; it always has been. It's just the technology has made it more accessible. THanks

Hi Trish. Yes, everyone focuses on the trafficking of other countries. If you are arrested in the US for prostitution and you're from Eastern Europe, Asia, Central America you get help. You get resident status; you get counseling, medical care... If you're domestic, you get arrested, chains, a jail cell and a criminal record. And in case you didn't notice, there are far more trafficked within the border than trafficked into it. The attention given foreign victims has everyone believing that is the extent of the problem. Most people are shocked when you tell them of the hundreds of thousands of children enslaved inside the country.

Thanks to all, Lynda


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This is a shameful situation, Lynda, and I applaud CNN for at least examining the tip of the iceberg regarding the problem of trafficking in young girls in the U.S.

But even more, I thank you for bringing the shocking details and more truths about this issue to your readers via your articles and your latest book. God bless.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks drbj. Sometimes I think society refuses to look. What's the old adage? There are none so blind as those that will not see. Mention child trafficking and they speak of the terrible problems of Thailand, of Russia. Well, multiply that by 100 and you have the scope of the problem in North America (Canada, too by the way.) The underlying problems -- such as lack of access to education, poor to no funding for social programs, prejudice and bigotry against prostitutes... It all adds up. Thanks for your comment, drbj. Lynda


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

Lynda, this is still disgusting, and there does not seem to be an end to the story..Good job in covering the facts that we should about what is happening to our young girls. The government must not have the money to properly stop the practice.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Perhaps not, Nan. Though the government spends plenty on less deserving matters. Build one less tank and that would build a dozen shelters. Once less stealth jet, and we'd have a string of them across the country. It's a question of will, not money. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is such a heartbreaking problem. Your hub is excellent with so much information that I feel I am much better informed. The government needs to take more initiate to stop this problem. They sure spend plenty of money on their per projects and I can't think anything is much more important than this problem.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

So very true, Pamela. Pass on the information. It's a start. Thanks for reading and caring. Lynda


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Gosh, Lynda, you can be so proud of your self being able to bring all this dirt into the public eye. It is unbelievable that something like goes on right amongst us.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you, Hello, hello. Proud? No, more like frustrated and amazed that so little is being done. I wish I had a greater reach, a louder voice. But I don't. Lynda


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

This is so disgusting and girls are being taken from their homes, schools, streets, malls and everywhere. I am so sick of what is going on and I think this is a must read hub for everyone, a bit too long, may apart one and two, however this is so important and I thank you for writing this. I rate this up Love & peace darski


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Darlene for your comment. I disagree that it is "too long." It is not even 2,000 words, after all. Glad you liked it, but I am going to ignore your suggestion to split it in two. I think most adults can pay attention long enough to get through it...???? Have we become so ADD?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi :)

Sadly, I dare say it is happening here in the UK, too.

I think that one reason people don't take it as seriously as they should, is that they cannot believe that it is actually taking place.

I remember that, at one time, not too long ago, no-one really believe that incestuous child abuse was occurring ~ but, of course, it was.

Reality dawns ~ but slowly.


Barkode 5 years ago

What a fucking a shame. The real problem is that the truth is so unbelievable that people really cant believe this shit happens. More should be spoken of this to get peoples attention. Show proof of facts to anyone or the authorities. Until they are filled with anger and shame to put an end to this sad story. Its a embarassment to society that the prison gangs is the only thing doing something about this. They hurt and kill sex offenders inside jail unless put protection custody. What's the government doing? What are YOU doing??? Lets start now by spreading the word!


amybradley77 profile image

amybradley77 5 years ago

Thanks for doing this Lynda, we need this to come out and to put a stop to it once and for all. It's so hard to believe it's still happening today, that girl in the jail cell that seemed faraway not in her own skin. I have seen this before and you know this never goes away it will be with this person until they die. A.B.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Trish, of course it's happening in the UK. It's happening everywhere. In the US there's upwards of a quarter million children sold each day on the streets, and 100,000 or more trafficked each year into the trade. No, I don't think people don't believe. I think people don't care about an issue until it affects them directly.

As to familial sex abuse, best guesses are one in three homes (33% of families.) I think it unlikely people didn't know... They just didn't talk about it. What went on in a "man's castle" was his affair. Where do these statistics come from? Conferences with child protection workers, specialized law enforcement, social workers. No one knows for sure, except to say the official stats reflect only reported cases -- maybe a third of cases, and those are quite shockingly high.

Hi barcode, yes it is a shame for all of us. But do you think suggesting drastic punishment will help the situation? Reported cases of abuse dropped when the sex offender registry came into being, causing the offenders to be branded for life. Did this mean abuse was reduced? Or that due to the consequences, fewer cases are being reported? Most workers in the field believe the second.

Hello, amybradley. The damage done to these children may never end, you're right. But many do recover -- perhaps most. One of the most difficult things for these girls to overcome is the prejudices people hold toward any kind of sex-worker. Thanks for commenting.

Thanks to all, Lynda.


electricsky profile image

electricsky 5 years ago from North Georgia

I guess a lot of women who are prostitutes start at a very young age. Some are/were probably homeless and desperate. It's not a lot different than marriage; but they have a different husband every day/night.

I do feel the children in this article though are just too young to learn the harsh realities of life.

What is your answer to help these kids?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Electricsky -- Are you saying a husband rapes his wife every night? There's a big, big difference between a child in thrall to a slaveowner who sells her indifferently several times a day for sexual service and a woman, married, who sees sex as a marital chore.

My answer to helping these kids is to make people see the reality of their situation. You say they were probably homeless and desperate, which tells me you truly did not read this article or the Rape Trade. Here's news, 100,000 children in this country are trafficked every year. Many, in fact I've come to believe most, were not homeless and desperate but taken and traded like cattle -- worse. You can only be killed for meat once.


hello 5 years ago

is there somewhere I can watch this online or download it in its entirety?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You can try contacting CNN and finding out when they plan to re-broadcast. As I'm sure they will. Lynda


duke 5 years ago

unbelievable, give me a break, it's the oldest profession in human history. If God didn't want people to have sex, then we wouldn't have sex organs. It's a normal human activity, like going to the bathroom. This is exactly why the sex tourist industry is booming. The social stigma in America has forced us to go overseas where there is nothing wrong with having sex, damn if you can have sex you are lucky! The Girls over there can't believe the ridiculous stigma that exists about having sex, they are like, what is the big freaking deal? They laugh at the American women and the American Taboo Puritanical values. The funniest thing is, they actually enjoy it more than the men! The more sex the better, it's great fitness and it has been proven the more sex a man has, the less chance he has of getting prostate cancer! Are you people for real with this bull-$hit program ?? Millions of American men have realized the solution is a simple round trip ticket to Angeles, Philippines. HA.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Good old duke up here just told you more than I can about this problem. He thinks sex with children is his right. He thinks it's all a big joke to protect our children from the sex trade. He thinks little girls like being serially raped. He has mistaken the desperation of poverty for enthusiasm for the sex trade. He thinks a quarter of a million children for sale on the streets of the US is puritanical, as though the demand is outstripping the market, forcing the poor American male to go to the Philippines or Thailand. We can tell he's never been there. They do not laugh. They do not enjoy. They are slaves forced to sexual servitude and their societies consider them outcasts -- because contrary to this bigoted idiot's ideas, those cultures have very strict mores about sex and prostitution. Even if rescued, these children will never be accepted back into society. This man is sick.

But I can certainly understand why he is having trouble finding sexual service of the normal kind. No one likes a pig.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, Glen you're so right. Thanks for commenting.


PWalker281 5 years ago

It just so happens that I saw the CNN broadcast this past Sunday. I thought most of the emphasis was on the foreign-born women who were arrested at the massage parlor with some attention given to the little American girl at the end, as well as the journalist posing as a teenager soliciting sex on the Internet.

Like you, what really appalls me is that these children are further victimized by the American justice system that calls them prostitutes so it can treat them like criminals instead of the victims they are.

Frankly, I had no idea so many children are trafficked as sex slaves in the US and that it is such a highly organized activity. That is scary. Thanks for sharing this information.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi PWalker -- I too have been absolutely disgusted at the skewing of reportage on this issue. So many people think it is entirely a problem of foreign women and children trafficked into the sex trade in the U.S., when in fact 6 times as many American children are trafficked. The tiny resources budgeted to fight this problem are earmarked for the foreign victims that the American children get no help. Why is this? Is it the old head in the sand approach? Or is it misplace pride which leads to denial? I don't know. But I do know the issues these children face to move forward from this dark place. Lynda


PWalker281 5 years ago

I think it's the latter, Lynda. I don't think the US wants to admit that such a problem exists. It's embarrassing to say the least and a tragedy of epic proportions. But articles like yours are shedding light on it and hopefully will draw some Congressional attention to it.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Perhaps you're right PWalker. Although in my bitter thoughts, I think people don't care -- until it touches them close to home and it's their child taken and sold. Lynda


SUSIE42 profile image

SUSIE42 5 years ago

This information is appauling. I cannot believe this can go on right under our noses and more is not being done about it.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 5 years ago from Arizona

Our church supports an organization called Project Streetlight in Phoenix. Their mission is to eradicate child sex slavery. They opened a safe house last year for girls that have been the victims of sex slavery. Check it out http://streetlightphx.com/


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Susie42 -- oh, you can believe it. It is so. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Shawna. Glad to hear of your church's project. Private charity in the face of government inaction is all we have left. I will check out the site and thanks for the link. Together, we can make change. Lynda


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Appalling statistics and frightening reality check. The plight of those "rescued" girls really gets to me.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, these arrested girls, victims treated as felons and stigmatized by society's denigration of 'whores.' It does make the heart bleed. Most prostitutes are victims of childhood exploitation. Unless we can intervene, their lives are a pre-written book. Thanks for reading. Lynda


Aaron McClymonds 5 years ago

If these youuth are not criminals then maybe the county should build your dream with a fence around it. Living in a house would help these girls. Incarceration only creates hate and resentment and makes the life of a prostitute look glamorous. If they slept in a house even with a fence around it you could empower them to reach their goals. These are young children not criminals. Probation officers are only for people on probation and if they are not criminals then you would not need probation officers. What you need are loving caring counselors that can relate and encourage not people that incarcerate. Thank you for reading my words. These words come from someone who use to be incarcerated and now teaches at three High Schools a class called Positive Input.


Jnicole006 5 years ago

I watched this on CNN tonight. I have been doing research on the topic for awhile now and currently working on a research paper on the issue. And it doesn't matter how many times I read about it or listen to the news reports, I'm astounded every time. It's thanks to Amber Lyon that this horrible human rights issue can be revealed. The LAST place these young girls should end up is in a jail cell. It disgusts me and brings me to tears to think after such a horrible ordeal the girls end up being punished and handcuffed, when what they really need is a safe place to go where they can get help. I have a niece and hearing about the heinous things like this that go on out there scares me to death. I hope some day there will be an end to sex trafficking.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi jnicole -- Amber Lyon is on of hundreds who attempt to bring this reality to the public eye, not the first, not the last.. But I don't think the public wants to see. I've worked in this area for many years; if I can help you with your research, email me. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


Terryandco profile image

Terryandco 5 years ago

I think its the latter too...


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Aaron. Sorry to be so late getting back to you. Yes, I couldn't agree more. These girls need care, not punishment. Thank you for sharing your views here.

Hi Terry. Yes, I'm afraid society does not want to see.

Thanks. Lynda


ron0540 profile image

ron0540 5 years ago from Folsom, Calif.

I cannot even begin to try to understand how this social responsibility, the protection of children, in The United States, World wide, How society has failed to protect children from this abuse and neglect. This has to be put on the front burner, and every community, every neighborhood, every family, every individual must be held accountable. It can only happen if this information is continually circulated until the powers that be are either motivated or shamed into action.

Thank You for doing the work for this hub. It cannot be easy.


char4u.com profile image

char4u.com 5 years ago

God damn those pimps, they should be condemned morally and thrown into the prison forever! Forgive my rudeness, I just can't control it!


char4u.com profile image

char4u.com 5 years ago

I've tweeted it on Twitter, at least people have the right to know this ugly social event. I'm at a loss what to do to ease the pain of those victims. If I can help, don't hesitate to let me know!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Ron0540. If you feel so strongly, why not help spread the word? You may have noticed, there's no advertising on this hub, nor on any of my hubs related to this subject. I am not trying to promote my work, but to increase awareness.

Hi char4u Thanks. Increased public awareness is an important part of cleaning up the mess. Twitter away.

Thank you both. Lynda


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Immartin, when all this things are happening. we begin to ask "What is the World turning to? As a matter of fact, Child traffic has been on its high rate. So please i will like you to create more awareness. Thanks


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, crystolite, child exploitation has increased along with the population, but it is nothing new. Like many other things, it has always been there, just never talked about. Thanks for your comment. Lynda


Fraser Nuttall profile image

Fraser Nuttall 5 years ago from Canada

Wow, this article made me feel sick to my stomach, very informative and effective!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Fraser -- though I'm sorry for your upset stomach.

Hello belieber100 -- some people think that's what children are for.

Thanks to bother of you, Lynda


AP 5 years ago

How is this what passes for journalism anymore? I can't believe that this is what CNN has sunk to. What a bold effort to misinterpret facts, make uninformed blanket statements, and using examples in place of real studies. Where on earth does one have to go for actual news?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi AP, In all fairness, they've at least done the job of bringing the issue to light. We can give them credit for that. And this is a documentary, not a news telecast, though I do agree with you, what passes for "news" these days is usually slanted opinion shows (think Bill O'Reily or all of FOX,for example.)

When I want to see the news of the world without all the bias, I go to the BBC.

Thanks for commenting. Lynda


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 5 years ago from Amman, Jordan

Heartbreaking


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Thank you lmmartin for dealing with such an "unpleasant" topic, which has been swept under the rug for too many years because of attitudes like those of dear Duke. How can one possibly justify the rape of children by saying that they like sex? The damage done to a child that is repeatedly sold for sex is devastating and something that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Great Hub - thank you for sharing!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, marwan asmar, it is heartbreaking.

Hi Chatkath. Yes, our dear Duke hardly gives one the warm fuzzies. You are right in that these children will suffer for the rest of their lives, but worse, those lives are likely to be very short ones. This trade is gobbling up our children at a rate of 100,000 a year in the US alone. THanks for commenting. Lynda


doitrightnow profile image

doitrightnow 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

Sadly, too many parents let their kids have unfettered access to the Internet, not realizing that pedophiles are using Facebook and other sites to rope these poor little ones in. Parents, watch what your kids are doing online. It's not an invasion of privacy - it's parental duty!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Certainly that is one aspect of the trade, but not the only method. And these are not necessarily pedophiles (a term that is too often applied wrongly), but opportunists. Business men with an eye to profit. True pedophiles aren't usually interested in pubescent or post-puberty children.

My advice to parents would be more along the lines of: be involved in your child's life, including his on-line life. It is the children who feel unloved, uncared for, lost and self-hating who are most at risk. Unhappily these children number in the hundreds of thousands.

Thanks for your comment.


Sara 4 years ago

Im deeply conserned about this, I live in Mexico and as u know in my country we have a lot of this trade (we are now passing a law, that condems this crime). I feel frigtfull because im a woman and I have nieces, I think this is the whorst thing people can do to another human being, despict of the age. The state where I live in one week i've known about 2 cases of "misterious" abductions. One of a fotographer about 38 yrs. and the other a young mother 28 yr and her little girl 7 yr.

I pray to God for this to end. And for all the women out there please be safe, this is not a pretty world we live in sadly...


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Sara, Thanks for sharing your view here. You are right; this is a despicable crime no matter the age of the victims, yet I can't help but feel the children are the most defenseless, and also, the public is more aroused by the idea of child victims than adult ones so perhaps it is easier to get public awareness of human trafficking by highlighting the plight of the children. I am not familiar with the state of affairs in Mexico, though I do know Mexican girls and women are often trafficked across the border into the US. Thank you for your prayers and support for all victims of this crime. Lynda


tohimilook profile image

tohimilook 4 years ago from Barbados

This is a very tragic thing. Do these men have daughters? Why can't government agencies do more. It is so distressing to hear of young girls not being able to enjoy their childhood. The love of money is the root of evil. The drug trade and the sex trade two evils within our society unless these are seriously dealt with will we will continue to lose our youth to these criminals. The judicial system in the western world needs reforming. My prayers go out those who are caught in these evil traps.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello tohimlook -- while it is true the western world needs many reforms, these issues are worldwide and no society is clean handed. Nor is it a new problem, having been around since the beginning of time. But, like all things it has grown, become more sophisticated and developed a "business" model in our modern world. It only seems like a recent development because of the changes in our technology bringing the instant media directly to us and in our attitudes. Such things simply weren't spoken of in the past, aside from whispers and rumours of the "white slave trade" -- a misnomer as victims of all races have always been affected.

Thank you for your prayers.

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