Wow. I don’t even know where to start on this. Partly because I don’t really have my thoughts organized and partly because the situation is so unbelievably overwhelming. At the end of 2009, the Lord graciously began me on a journey. He convicted me of comfortably living in my little bubble, ignoring the injustice and poverty in the world and showed me my responsibility as a follower of Christ to combat these things. Exposing myself to these awful realities has been just that – awful.
Recently, I have been learning about something that is just beyond sickening – human trafficking. I guess I had heard these words, but had never really exposed myself to information on the issue. Last week, I finished a class I was taking at our church called “Hope Lives”. It addresses the Biblical response to poverty and injustice. In that class, one of the teachers had mentioned some things about trafficking that prompted me to research the issue. What I found was beyond awful.
Before you gloss through the statistics below, try to put the faces behind what the numbers represent. Over and over in my research I read (or heard in videos) of girls getting trafficked and raped at 5 years old! That is what really killed me. My sweet Maya is 5 now. And there are multitudes of little girls just like her that are victims of this unbelievably horrible industry. Pray with me for an end to this. With the Super Bowl coming to Dallas this year there will be a great deal of trafficking that comes along with it. There are several organizations preparing for this to combat it. Jeff and I plan to get involved. I will post updates as I get them.
- Estimated 27 million people in bondage.
- 50% of victims are children.
- A child sold every two minutes; 1 million children forced into the sex trade each year.
- 2nd-largest and fastest-growing criminal activity in the world.
- Generates at least $32 billion annually for the perpetrators.
- 99% of victims are not rescued.
- The Internet has made it extremely easy. Craigslist alone makes $36 million a year on erotic ads; it has been called the No. 1 online hub for human trafficking.
- 100,000-325,000 U.S. children trafficked each year within our country…and growing.
- Less than 1% of cases solved.
- 1 out of 3 homeless youth in the U.S. sold into sex slavery within 48 hours of running away or being kicked out.
- The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12-13.
- Life expectancy: 7 years.
- Domestic trafficking more prevalent in the United States than victims being brought in from the other countries.
- U.S. children only gain access to services by being charged with delinquency or prostitution.
Texas Is A Hub
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state.
- Department of Justice designated the I-10 corridor as the No. 1 route for human trafficking in the U.S.
- Breeding ground for predators thanks to numerous interstate highways, airports, malls.
- Easy to market: Internet, truck stops, modeling studios, etc.
- Demand skyrockets when major sporting events and conventions come to town.
- 15% of Texas calls to hotline come from the DFW area.
- Dallas and Fort Worth chosen as 2 of 10 U.S. locations by Department of Justice for assessment of scope of domestic minor sex trafficking.
- Large number of homeless youth. For example, Dallas has 1,000 teens on the streets any given night and Arlington 2,000 a year.
- Fairly extensive gang involvement; Mexican cartels are sending kids into Texas schools to recruit.
- Most front-line defenders don’t know what to look for in a victim
* Information taken from http://www.traffic911.com/, a local organization fighting child trafficking.