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Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:55AM|
A recent FBI law enforcement bulletin says child sex trafficking is a “problem of epidemic proportion” that threatens 300,000 American children.
The report said victims are often forced to travel far from home and their lives revolve around “violence, forced drug use and constant threats.”
According to the Washington-based FAIR Fund international nonprofit organization, most of the child victims come from poor neighborhoods and broken families.
“Most of the girls that we work with come from a broken home, maybe a single-headed household, [where] there is a lot of poverty,” said Andrea Powell, executive director of FAIR Fund that works to prevent human trafficking and sexual violence in the lives of youth, especially girls, around the world.
Powell says in the majority of cases there have been records of previous abuse by a family member or a parent in the form of verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing domestic violence.
“We are talking about something that has been called an epidemic by the FBI,” she told Press TV adding “we need a culture shift. We need people to understand this is not only a dirty 14-year-old girl who has made some bad choices. This is a child. Somebody out there is taking advantage of her selling her body.”
Child sex victims are often transported around the US and are often provided counterfeit identification to use in case they are arrested.
The average age a child gets involved into the sex trafficking industry in the US is between 12 and 14 years old.
“No matter where we would pull in different truck stops, there were always other truckers talking on their CBs to let other truckers know that I was available,” said Kristy Childs who became a victim at the age of 12 and was prostituted out in different cities and truck stops for six years.
Experts say it is more difficult to track and arrest offenders because traffickers' are now widely communicating to customers on the internet.
“The majority of the girls that we work with here at Fair Fund are in fact girls who are being exploited online,” said Powell.