Sex Trafficking in the US
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states that there are 100,000-300,000 American born children likely to be victims of human trafficking each year. Although the victims’ backgrounds vary, the majority of sex trafficking victims come from broken or unstable homes and more than likely have a history of previous abuse.
Young girls are preyed upon by pimps who promise to love and take care of them, often deceiving the girls into believing they are actually their boyfriend. Girls with low self-esteem or who come from broken homes are more apt to respond to this type of love and attention and are duped into thinking the pimp cares about them. The pimp starts with physical abuse and psychological conditioning – then he tells the young girl she owes him money, and demands payment. Her only recourse is to sell (prostitute) herself, and he tells her she would do it if she really cared for him. Victims are subjected to starvation, being locked in rooms, forced to sleep outside in the middle of winter, inadequate clothing, severe beatings and emotional abuse.
Although sex trafficking is typically thought of as street prostitution, the leading avenue to market a girl has become the internet. Girls are forced to place multiple ads a day in order to make the pimp’s quota. Human trafficking has become the second most profitable crime in the world creating a $32 billion industry: more than Nike, Google and Starbucks combined. Pimps have found there is less risk in trafficking girls, and it is more lucrative than any other product because on average, girls can be sold for sex 15-30 times a day. If a girl does not produce the required amount of money for the pimp, she will be beaten and punished into submission.
Human Trafficking in Texas
- Texas has emerged as a hub for human trafficking. Trafficking in Texas flourishes due to proximity, demographics and economy.
- 100,000- 300,000 American children are likely victims of human trafficking in the United States compared to 17,500 international victims trafficked into the United States each year.
- Texas houses the I-10 corridor, which the Department of Justice designated as the number one route for human trafficking.
- In the last quarter of 2007, 30% of the calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888) were out of Texas, and 25% of all reported victims, certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, were in Texas.
- Texas is home to two of the largest cities in the country, Houston and Dallas, where domestic trafficking thrives. This is due to the prevalence of runaway and “throwaway” youth, thriving sexually oriented businesses, and major sporting events and conventions that drive the demand for commercial sex.
- There are over 6,000 runaways in Houston and according to National Incidence Studies of Missing Abducted Runaway and Throwaway Children, an estimated 1 out of every 3 children who run away is lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.
- Research indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood.