1 Center for American Progress | 3 Key Challenges in Combating the Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States
3 Key Challenges in Combating the Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States
By Chelsea Parsons, Andrew Cray, Malika Saada Saar, and Yasmin Vafa April 8, 2014
Wihelma Oriz Walker Petigrew, known as , spen much o her early childhood in he oser care sysem, and a age 10, a man who was nearly wice her age argeed her. He began o sexually exploi her and sell her o any willing buyer; his abuse coninued or he nex seven years. During his ime, was repeaedly arresed and charged wih crimes such as soliciaion and prosiuion and sen o juvenile deenion aciliies, where she was reaed as a criminal raher han a vicim o serious sexual abuse and was urher raumaized and humiliaed by he agencies designed o help her.
is no rom Souheas Asia or Easern Europe; she was born and raised in he Unied Saes. And ragically, she is no alone. While human raﬃcking is ofen hough o as an inernaional problem ha occurs in ar-ﬂung locaions around he world, sex raﬃcking o children in he Unied Saes is becoming increasingly common. Afer many years o advocacy by ani-human-raﬃcking organizaions and service pro- viders, he issue o sex raﬃcking o children in he Unied Saes is receiving unprec-edened levels o atenion rom leaders a all levels o governmen, including Presiden Barack Obama, who recognized he presence o sex raﬃcking here in remarks o he Clinon Global Iniiaive in Sepember 2012:
Bu for all he progress ha we’ve made, he biter ruh is ha raﬃcking also goes on righ here, in he Unied Saes. I’s he migran worker unable o pay oﬀ he deb o his raﬃcker. Te man, lured here wih he promise of a job, his documens hen aken, and forced o work endless hours in a kichen. Te eenage girl, beaen, forced o walk he srees. Tis should no be happening in he Unied Saes of America.
Tere are a number o bills currenly pending in Congress o address various aces o he problem, and saes across he counry are enacing legislaion o beter proec chil-dren and eenagers rom his orm o violence and abuse.