Some unlikely Atlanta women are spending hours on the Internet looking for child prostitutes, but not for personal gratification. They’re volunteers who are monitoring websites that advertise children under categories such as “escorts” as part of a new front in the war against sexual trafficking. “We have found every quarter an exponential increase in the number of girls being exploited,” said Deborah Richardson, executive vice president of the National Center for Civil & Human Rights. “One reason is the internet. Anyone can sit at home and order a young girl for sex as easily as ordering a pizza.” And just as a customer can specify pizza toppings, children can be ordered online by skin color, hair color and age, she said.
Facebook will now distribute AMBER Alerts to 140 million users in the U.S. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Office of Justice Programs announced the new partnership at the Washington, D.C. office of Facebook. It gives law enforcement a new tool to quickly spread the word about kidnappings and missing children to more people than ever across the entire country. Click here to watch the news conference
AMBER Alerts also go out to broadcast and print media, the trucking industry, wireless phone companies and Internet service providers. The AMBER Alert program has helped rescued 525 children over the years.
A startling number of children, as young as 12, are forced into prostitution in the U.S. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 100,000 – 300,000 children a year are lured or kidnapped, and forced into the sex trade. Many are runaways or homeless kids who are raped, threatened, and moved from city to city for financial gain. The BBC reports police are not acting quickly enough to help these children. One girl in Washington, D.C. says police pointed guns at her, called her a “whore” and bullied her. Advocates for children say these kids need support and police should recognize they are victims.
Of the girls engaged in formal prostitution, about 75% work for a pimp, according to the Department of Justice, which paints this picture of the sex trade:
“Pimp-controlled commercial sexual exploitation of children is linked to escort and massage services, private dancing, drinking and photographic clubs, major sporting and recreational events, conventions, and tourist destinations. About one-fifth of these children become entangled in nationally organized crime networks and are trafficked nationally. They are transported around the United States by a variety of means – cars, buses, vans, trucks or planes, and are often provided counterfeit identification to use in the event of arrest. The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14. It is not only the girls on the streets that are affected — for boys and transgender youth, the average age of entry into prostitution is 11-13.” ______________
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are forced into prostitution every year – sometimes through being kidnapped near their homes. Some are as young as 12 years old. The Department of Justice says the average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 13. About 75% of girls engaged in prostitution work for a pimp