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When we think of human trafficking, we often associate it with other countries,

certainly not here in America. Last night, on Primetime Live, this ugly phenomenon
was exposed to millions of viewers. Who is targeted and why will surprise you.

Many of the victims come from middle class homes. They are targeted because of
their youth and naivete. According to F.B.I. estimates, over 100,000 children are
victims of human trafficking in sex. They have a project specifically for
apprehending the predators who are using our young girls as sex slaves- Project
Lost Innocence. These young victims range in age from 9 years old to 19, the
average ages between 9 years old and 11. "The FBI and its partners cannot restore
the innocence lost from those children who are lured into childhood prostitution,"
said Chris Swecker, assistant director for the FBI’s Criminal Investigation
Division. "These children are victimized twice: first by the handler who exploits
them and secondly by the individual who solicits them."

They are selected as skillfully as any predator chooses its prey, using online
chats, direct physical surveillance, and information coerced from other victims.
The initial meeting may appear innocuous, prefaced with a friendly compliment,
leading to an offer of "employment", usually modeling. Or it may be, as it was in
one of the cases on the program, a snatch right in front of the victim’s home,
with help just yards away.

Once "captured", these young and innocent girls are subjected to imprisonment,
starvation, gang rape, and offered for sale, often to as many as 50 John’s per
day. They are kept compliant through drugs, torture and coercion, in the form of
threats towards the family of the victim. There is nothing on this earth more
potent than threatening the lives of loved one's, for failure to comply.

Imagine being so physically degraded, and feeling not only the terrible shame and
humiliation of being used like cattle, but carrying the additional burden of
guilt, should your family be punished. The young victim would do anything to
prevent this. Here is an excerpt of what a victim said about her ordeal:

"Debbie said that the pimps told her they would go after her family, and they even
threatened to throw battery acid on her 19-month-old niece. After they told me
that, I didn't care what happened to me as long as my family stayed alive," she
said. "And that's pretty much what I had in my head. Staying there to keep my
family alive."

Interestingly enough, many of the buyers of child sex are married men. Which
speaks volumes about our society. Why is this happening is the real question.
Profit on the predators side is the obvious answer. But for the "john's" it
becomes more problematic. Many of these so-called men have both wives and children
of their own, yet will use these helpless children without apparently any
conscience whatsoever. As with narcotics, this would not be a problem, if there
weren't an appetite for it.

An appetite created by the media in it's various forms, depicting young models in
provocative clothing. That coupled with the huge amount of porn-particularly child
porn on the internet, creates a craving to progress from just looking, to becoming
an active participant. And though this is in no way meant to blame the victims or
their families, we are too permissive in what we allow our daughters to wear.

Young girls wearing thongs, bras and an open blouse aren't just attracting fellow
teens. They are also likely to come under the gaze of the ugliest of our
criminals-the child predator. This isn't just a criminal issue, but also a
societal issue. How can we realistically expect law enforcement to help prevent
these atrocious crimes against children, if we ourselves don't take steps to
protect them ourselves? It is our responsibility to have a talk with our daughters
about this issue, and explain what can happen if they dress or act too
provocatively in public.

We have a responsibility to say no to certain behaviors, and to insist on knowing


where our children are and who they are with. If you know your child dreams of
becoming a model, research legitimate ways to help her yourself, and educate her
to phony scams that could lead to her enslavement or worse. Don't allow your child
to become a victim of these traffickers in human flesh. Once innocence is lost, it
can never be regained. And these young victims will bear the scars of their
degradation and shame all their lives.