- Each year in America, an estimated 100,000 children are sexually exploited.*
- Human trafficking is currently the second largest criminal industry in the world, netting over $43 billion each year.
- The average age of entry into prostitution in the US is 12-13 years.
Are you feeling skeptical? Of course you are, because you'd probably rather not believe it. I feel the same way.
A few days ago I was contacted by Child Rescue, an organisation committed to ending the exploitation of children by predators. I spoke on the phone with Lindsay Hadley, the Executive Director of Child Rescue, and she asked me whether I would be willing to post about an upcoming event that the organisation has coordinated. It's a training event for law enforcement officers, to equip them to recognise child exploitation or human trafficking situations in the field, and to manage victims and prosecute cases effectively.
This workshop is coming up soon - June 1, 2011, 14 days from now. The administration costs and the event fees are all covered by corporate sponsors, but individual officers who wish to attend (some from Canada) will have travel expenses not covered by their policing organisations.
It's strange that such a horrifying activity, which we'd like to think of as a "Them" problem - affecting people in other places, other countries - gets next to no press in North America. It seems there is an overwhelming apathy when it comes to protecting our children - strange in a culture where parents are increasingly hovering and paranoid. It's a weird dichotomy.
I'm asking you to click over to Child Rescue, read about their organisation and their mission and, if you are able, to consider donating, or sponsoring a police officer to attend the training. It's not likely that you or I will ever be in a position to offer first-hand help to the victims of child sexual exploitation, but these officers could potentially encounter these children every week while on the job. I think the least we can do is help prepare them for what they'll need to do....for where they'll have to go, and what they'll have to see.
Child Rescue main page. (Click on "Make a Donation" or "Donate $3 a week", upper right.)
Law Enforcement Sponsoring page.
If you have a blog, you can get a button from the Child Rescue blog (see my sidebar) to send people their way, and raise awareness.
* Statistics from childrescue.org