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52 children recovered, 60 alleged child pimps arrested in crackdown -- but have you heard about it?

Updated on January 28, 2011
Every year, over 100,000 underage American children are victimised in the child sex-slave trade -- average age? -- ELEVEN!
Every year, over 100,000 underage American children are victimised in the child sex-slave trade -- average age? -- ELEVEN!

A new video: The Rape Trade

The news non-story and the truth behind it.

In today’s (Oct. 26) headlines from CNN’s computer stream: 52 children recovered, 60 alleged child pimps arrested in crackdown

After thirty-years as a child protection worker, a writer of two works of fiction centered on this issue, a previous article ‘The Rape of the Innocents’ here on hubpages -- you better believe it -- this one definitely caught my eye.

I read further: “(CNN) -- Law enforcement authorities have recovered 52 children and arrested 60 pimps allegedly involved in child prostitution, the FBI announced Monday.

More than 690 people in all were arrested on state and local charges, the FBI stated.”

Good journalism, nothing but the facts, and since this deals with underage victims of crime, appropriately, no details are provided. I understand the necessity; I should – I worked in this field.

The piece quoted the FBI: "Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces," Kevin Perkins, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, said in a written statement. "There is no work more important than protecting America's children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization."

Well spoken, don’t you think, but a little bit of spouting the obvious, and still no details into the scope of the operation, how they were found, the types of people arrested (690? – arrested in an investigation surrounding 52 children. Does your imagination stretch enough to consider what this means?)

And who instigated this investigation? “The initiative, conducted with assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has so far resulted in the recovery of almost 900 children, according to the FBI. It has also led to more than 500 convictions.”

It is part of the Innocence Lost Campaign, started in 2003 to deal with the problem of child trafficking and prostitution (the more apt term would sex slavery.) In the six years since inception, this program is proud to announce the following statistics:

Statistics (as of October 2009)
Founded: June 2003
Children Recovered: 886
Seizures: Over $3 million
Convictions: 510

Task Forces & Working Groups: 34

Now what’s really surprising about this story which came across CNN’s computer feed, is that I’ve had CNN on the television all day (hey, it beats listening to soap operas and the other flotsam of daytime TV) and there hasn’t been a single mention of this story.

Surely, it was of more importance than the piece on the influence of sports, and which members of President Obama's entourage played what sport. Or the now tedious coverage of the unstable family of the “Balloon Boy.”

Yes, they did a touching piece on the fate of Afghani boys forced to dance for and sexually service powerful men in that country, and a real tear jerker it was. “It would be better if Allah killed us, than forcing us to live like this,” said one youth for the cameras.

But not one word about the 52 children, here in America, right in your back yard, just liberated from a life most of you can’t imagine. Why is that?

Not a peep!

Is it more newsworthy (or politically expedient) to report on the perversions and corruptions of a Muslim country than to rake up the stinking muck found here at home? But this hub isn't about the political slant of the news and the method of delivery. No. I want to come back to the 52 children here in the U.S. rescued in the last three days.

Why isn’t America outraged? This story should be screamed out in blazing headlines from every media source available. But it isn’t. And the Afghani boys are on the screen as I write, for the fourth repetition in two hours.

It might be because the American children are protected by shield laws, and therefore so are those arrested. It could be because the few who do notice this story have no idea what has happened to these children.

So let me give you a behind the scenes look. I’ve been there. I’ve talked with children fresh from this hell. I’ll tell you what the news can’t or won’t.

The truth about trafficked children in the U.S., slaves in the sex trade:

Report: U.S. officials unaware of child sex-trafficking problem

Oct 5, 2009 | by Cindy Ortiz

WASHINGTON (BP)--Most Americans, including far too many government officials, have no idea that children under the age of 18 are being shipped from state to state as child prostitutes, according to a report from an anti-sex trafficking organization.

In fact, an estimated 100,000 American children under 18 years of age are victimized through prostitution every year and children rented for sex acts might be raped 6,000 times over the course of five years. In addition, the United States should be -- but is not -- listed on the "Tier 2" watch list in the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report.

Well these figures certainly put the FBI’s statistics in perspective don’t they? One hundred thousand children under the age of eighteen trafficked and victimized every year. And in six years, the FBI has liberated 886. That’s not what I'd call a sizeable dent in the problem. Sorry, we should be able to protect our children better than this.

But back to this interesting article:

Demonstrating the magnitude of the problem for a single child trapped in sexual slavery, SHI said in its 82-page report published in May: "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."

Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., who authored the TVPA, said, "It is a problem all over the world and the United States is no exception. There are new victims in our country every day."

Well, horrific as the idea of a child raped five times a night for five years is, most children don’t survive that long. There are those who will pay for a child dispirited, broken, no longer exciting. Why? For the thrill of killing them. And no, I’m not making this up. Such an experience can be purchased for around $200.

But that is just for those that survive long enough to be soiled goods and hard to market. Most children in the sex trade die from infection, malnutrition, are beaten to death by their keepers, or simply die of despair. Most dogs in a kennel are kept in better surroundings than these children. They are expendable, disposable and only a commodity. There’s always more where she or he came from.

Here’s another excellent article to consider:

America's Trafficked Children Are Being Arrested, Not Rescued by Melissa Snow

Published July 22, 2009 @ 12:00PM PT

This was the topic of an unprecedented congressional briefing on capitol hill that took place yesterday. Co- sponsored by the Caucus on Victims' Rights and the Caucus on Human Trafficking, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Ted Poe, and Congressman Jim Costa were attentively listening to the challenges and recommendations of the panelists in addressing child sex slavery in America. In addition to the Congressman in attendance - the room was packed with nearly 80 congressional staffers and professionals. A clear message was sent that we are concerned about every victim exploited through the crime of human trafficking and that includes hundreds of thousands of American kids - every year.

The report reveals the shocking findings of three years of intensive research on the issue of child sex trafficking in America from ten locations across the U.S. While the research locations ranged from areas as diverse as Salt Lake City, Utah to Clearwater, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada the findings were hauntingly similar - underage American girls are the bulk of victims in commercial sex markets and are too often being arrested rather than rescued. Additionally, nearly every interview revealed that American child sex trafficking victims were being misidentified or not identified at all by Child Protective Services and social service providers who are responsible for providing proper treatment and care. The arrest and lack of specialized services for these children is causing revictimization.

In other words, when these children are discovered by one means or another, most of the time they are arrested, and treated as criminals, as though they were sex slaves out of choice. These girls received no counseling, no assistance, no understanding that they are victims.

A year ago, while researching for a report, I found the following article in PDF format:

Sex Trafficking of Children in America

Girls Lured or Kidnapped into Prostitution

Nov 10, 2008 Martha R. Gore

Children being used by sex traffickers in America range in age from 9 to 19, with the average age being 11 years old. Efforts are being made to rescue them

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that well over 100,000 children and young women are sex trafficked every day. Many victims are not runaways or kids who have been abandoned but rather have been lured or coerced by clever predators.

Children as Sex Slaves in America

Many Americans often connect human trafficking as being a problem in other parts of the world, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Latin America and eastern Europe. However the reality is that there are thousands of young American girls who have been abducted or lured from their normal lives to become sex slaves. The predators that prey on them are very adept at reading children and knowing what their vulnerabilities are.

Well, there you have it. Most of these girls – average age 11 -- are not imports from Russia, not girls sold by impoverished families in the far east – no -- most of them come from right here. They are American children, and though I don’t wish to disagree with this excellent well-researched piece, most of the girls I’ve worked with were not lured or coerced – they were downright snatched.

They were on their way home from an event, or even school and taken, just like that. And their families called the police, and their pictures joined the thousands of other lost children, but by the time anyone was actively looking for them, they were miles from home – thousands of miles, their hair likely dyed or cut, and the process of terrorization and rape already underway.

Can you imagine what it must be like? -- to be nine, ten or eleven-years-old, taken from your mom, your home, everything you know? You are now a thing, to be used, to be abused, raped, sodomized, beaten. Strangers are sticking their unwashed penises in your mouth. They poke and pry into your orifices doing as they wish to you. If they like to hit; they pay to hit you. They can pee on you, shit on you, bend you backwards if that’s what gets them going – so long as they pay for it.

And when they are finished with you, you are locked up with perhaps a dirty mattress to lay your aching body on. You’re lucky if you have water to wash your violated body, or even to drink. And should you try to object, to run, to refuse – you are beaten and tortured, until you no longer have the will to try. They own you.

If you do survive long enough to be a fifteen or sixteen-year-old whore, and your keepers no longer have to keep your existence and their trade such a dark secret, you’ll probably be sold again, to a pimp who runs young women on the street. You’re far too broken to consider escape, to protest. All you can think of is surviving another day, hopefully without a beating. You’re numb and have long since learned how to flee your body when things happen to you. Of course, this frustrates those who pay for you, so they must go to extremes to get the reaction they want, the ones that turn them on.

And then, one day, after years of this existence, when a police officer flashes his badge after you’ve quoted your price, you’re arrested and charged with a crime.

But take heart! Today 52 children were liberated – even if CNN didn’t say a thing about it.

Links to Related Articles

For thirty years I worked as an outreach worker in child protection. It was my job to befriend the victims, give them understanding ears to pour their story into, hands to hold theirs and act as their advocate. I give you the shocking statistics child protection workers know, but never see published, and the faces and stories behind the numbers.

Society is once again shocked at the loss of two more of our children to a dangerous, violent sex offender. What are our lawmakers doing to protect our children. Is it enough? Too much? The sex offender registry -- does this help or hinder law enforcement? What are society's options.


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