What You Need to Know about Child Trafficking In The US

Berry Mathew

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What You Need to Know about Child Trafficking In The US

Both in the United States and across the world, sex trafficking is a huge problem.  Although many governments have been taking measures to stop it, it’s something quite difficult to do in practice.  That’s why we need to start looking a bit further to finally address this.  

One method that has become somewhat popular as of late is to change the approach to target of our efforts in general.  Instead of only worrying about rescue (which is definitely something to still do, of course), we can also work more on prevention.  That’s a key point when it comes to putting an end to child sex trafficking.

There have been a lot of studies put out, such as this one, https://academic.oup.com/policing/article/5/2/132/1518450, which demonstrate what was said above.  Prevention is the best medicine for a whole slew of issues, and this is certainly one of them.  

How does Prevention Work?

Now, if you’re uncertain about what is meant by “prevention” in relation to something like this, that’s certainly understandable.  This is a very complicated topic, and a lot of the information out there can be quite heavy.  So, if this is something sensitive for you, consider this to be your trigger warning moving forward.

Generally speaking, when we say prevention, we mean preventing the perpetrators from being able to commit this crime in the first place.  That means finding the sex traffickers themselves and putting them on trial.  Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, including here in the United States, the court process can be long and difficult.

That is part of why some organizations are starting to work with the various justice systems in the US to help target this issue in particular.  Essentially, it’s allowing these courts to crack down harder on child sex trafficking and to lock the offenders away much faster than before.  So, it’s a win-win in that sense, right?

When these traffickers get arrested and put on trial, it is protecting any potential future victims that they might have had.  Hundreds, thousands, and maybe millions of children worldwide end up in these horrible trafficking rings that dehumanize them and sell them off as if they are objects rather than real people.  Their youth is stolen from them, and they have no say in it.

Keeping that from happening to any other children is something that pretty much everyone can agree on as being critical.  That’s why there are so many organizations out there looking to bring these criminals to justice.

Why Does this Matter?

Admittedly, for most of us, it isn’t difficult to see why this is such a big deal.  Despite that, though, it’s worth reiterating it.  The victims who have suffered deserve to have their stories told, and the kids of the world need to be protected.  If you’re passionate about the subject, there are organizations that accept volunteers and applicants to join their circles.

Shifting focus a bit, though, it’s also good to recognize that we all have a lot of work to do in terms of recognizing the signs of a trafficking ring.  There’s some further info on that here, https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040119-094335, if you would like to start learning.  Again, though, many groups across the world are working on educating the public on these sorts of things.

At the end of the day, though, it does appear that one of the most effective “treatments” for this horrible act is to prevent the traffickers from being able to access victims at all.  They deserve to be tossed in jail for the rest of their lives at least, so working alongside justice systems across the United States is one way to ensure that this is happening.

That said, it takes advocacy and outreach to accomplish these sorts of goals.  For anyone who’s feeling impassioned and wants to help put a stop to this, don’t be afraid to use your voice for good.  Unfortunately, the public perception seems to be that this isn’t a big problem in “developed” countries, but this really isn’t the case – tragically, there are still hundreds of children stolen from their families in the United States and other countries like it.