ByJeff Kretschmar and Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio |
Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has recently received much needed attention, but is by no means a new issue. Researchers have tried to approximate the scope of the problem, but it has proven extremely difficult to produce an accurate estimate of children who are victims of or at risk for CSEC in the U.S. State-level prevalence rates are equally difficult to produce, but a recent report estimated that more than 1,000 U.S.-born minors are sex trafficked in Ohio annually and thousands more are at risk for victimization.
California is attempting to switch to a victim-centered approach for its sexually trafficked youngsters. But despite the passage of two important and well-intentioned new laws in the last two years, both of which affect youth who have been sexually exploited, change has not come easily or quickly.
It was a sea of black and purple in every direction on the steps of the state capitol Tuesday morning. An estimated 800 people showed up to join in the third annual “lobby day” event to raise their voices — and overall awareness—about the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Georgia. “When we first started this we were told that 10 people showing up at the state capitol was a groundswell; now we’re rocking it,” says CSEC activist Cheryl DeLuca Johnson. “The first time we did this we had 50 people come out; then the next year we had 100. Last year it was about 500.