Sexually Exploited Girls in Need of Services, Not Handcuffs

For as long as anyone can remember, children bought and sold for sex in the United States have been ignored or worse — they have been arrested, incarcerated and released right back onto the streets.

State Laws Fail to Protect Children from Sex Trafficking

Most states aren’t doing enough to curb child sex trafficking according to a new report by the advocacy group Shared Hope International. The study, prepared in partnership with the American Center for Law and Justice, graded all 50 states on the strength of their sex trafficking laws. States that protected minors and prosecuted traffickers received the highest grades. But more than half of states received grades of D or F.

Leading the states with grades of B were Texas, Missouri, Illinois and Washington. All received high marks for criminal provisions addressing demand and protective provisions for child victims.

Georgia ranked near the top as one of only six states receiving a C because of its comprehensive human trafficking law and laws combating commercial exploitation of children.

Super Bowl Prostitution Fears Prompt Effort to Protect Kids in Indiana

Some Indiana lawmakers are scrambling to protect kids from the threat of forced prostitution by adding child trafficking to the state’s list of sex offenses in advance of  Indianapolis hosting next February’s Super Bowl. Amid all the fanfare and its reputation as a boon to tourism, the Super Bowl has also won some infamy for attracting a sex trade that caters to fans willing to participate in the exploitation of children. From StarTrib.com of Terre Haute, Ind.:

Before the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas … Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, described the party-filled event as “one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States.”

 

Law enforcement in Miami, site of the 2010 Super Bowl, also had concerns that underage prostitutes were brought in from Central America for tourists in town for the game. Indiana state Rep. Suzanne Crouch, R-Evansville, sponsored legislation this year directing a study committee to look at whether current state law on child solicitation needs to be expanded.

Gov. Deal Signs Human Trafficking Bill Into Law

The human trafficking bill that toughens the penalty for sex traffickers and seeks to improve outcomes for victims has been officially signed into Georgia law.  

A small crowd of supporters gathered around Governor Nathan Deal Tuesday afternoon as he signed HB 200 at My Sister’s House in the Atlanta Mission. The legislation was introduced this year by Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) and passed within the same legislative session, which wrapped up last month.  

The governor and his wife, First Lady Sandra Deal, shared encouraging words to the families of trafficking survivors during the signing event. Both commended child advocates for remaining vigilant in their work to eradicate child sex trafficking.

April 15, 2011

Read up:

Bullying May Cause Long-term Social Anxiety, Study Finds:
http://bit.ly/dontBULLYmice

Celebrities Leverage Online Video to Combat Child Sex Trafficking:
http://bit.ly/realMENreadJJIE

Georgia’s Failure to Enter Interstate Compact for Juveniles a “Serious Problem,” Judge Says:
http://bit.ly/judge2gov

Host: Ryan Schill
Multimedia: Clay Duda

New Research on Children Sold for Sex in Georgia

Every month, an estimated three to five hundred girls are being sold for sex in Georgia, according to a new fact sheet from the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. The Office monitors the problem and reports that girls as young as 12 are serving 10-15 men per night and sometimes up to 45 a night during periods of high demand, including sporting events and conventions. The fact sheet, which is released four times a year, is based on research done by Shared Hope International, The Shapiro Group and Citizens Against Trafficking. Researchers say girls who’ve been exploited often keep silent out of fear of physical and psychological abuse from their trafficker/pimp. Many are tattooed, branded or scarred, a method used by pimps to mark ownership and control over emotionally vulnerable girls, Citizens Against Trafficking reports.

Hotel and Airline Workers Get Training to Spot Victims of Child Sex Trafficking

Hotel and airline workers are getting trained to spot child sex trafficking, according to Reuters.com. Innocents At Risk, a nonprofit focused on fighting child exploitation and human trafficking, is working with Airline Ambassadors International and the Air Transport Association. They have a training program to help flight attendants, hotel desk clerks, cleaning crews and other workers spot children in trouble. Signs of child trafficking include:

The child has few personal items when they board the plane. The child avoids eye contact, looks paranoid, undernourished and behaves in an unusually submissive manner.

“Beaten, Manipulated and Sold All Day Everyday”

The issue of child sex trafficking is becoming more pointed as new research comes out about the vastness of the problem. A heart-wrenching interview with a survivor of child trafficking came out during testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week:
When I was 12 years old, a guy I thought was just a “dope [cool] boy” kept following me in his car when I walked to school…eventually I got in the car with him. For a while we were girlfriend and boyfriend; we would go everywhere together. It didn’t take long before I experienced the real treatment— being beaten, stomped on, manipulated and sold all day every day. Shared Hope International, a non-profit committed to globally preventing and eradicating sex trafficking and slavery, testified to the Committee about the problem of child trafficking in the U.S.

Linda Smith, Founder and President, represented the organization and focused on the current issues in domestic child trafficking response.