Sex Trafficking – Alive and Well in the USA (Guest Post from Bekah Chan)

I put out a call some time ago for guest posts. I was contacted by Bekah Chan about a topic no one wants to accept as reality: sex trafficking of our children. What follows is hard to read, but necessary in order to combat the insidiousness of an industry that profits preying on the innocent and the dismissed.

I know MotorCop has readers from all over the world, but for all intents and purposes, the information I’ll be sharing is based out of the United States.  I was given a 750 word limit, so I’m not going to mince them while sharing about an epidemic that has been sweeping the nation; children being sold for sex.

courage

Building homes and restoring lives for child victims of sex trafficking.

Many times, people want to sweep the issue under the rug, or have basic understandings of it happening in third world countries like Malaysia and India.  Other people honestly have no idea that little boys and girls are being sold for sex in their own backyard; that’s where I want to help shed some light.  I’ve had the honor of working the last two years with an organization called Courage Worldwide, a non-profit organization which houses and helps to restore girls rescued out of sex trafficking.  It was because of them I learned of the horrors happening in my city.

According to the FBI website, 66 tasks forces and working groups have recovered more than 2,700 children from prostitution over the last 10 years¹.  Most recently in the Northern California area, over a four-day period, 9 underaged girls were recovered through the FBI’s initiative “Operation Cross Country VIII”².  Throughout the country, 168 children were recovered in the same operation.  With Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Washington and Oregon within fairly easy driving distance, the Nor Cal area has become a main hub for pimps to ship children back and forth for easy profit.  And they are just that; children.

One of the girls we have at one of our Courage Houses has been with us almost a year and a half and she celebrated her 13th birthday earlier this year.

Thirteen.

Let that sink in for a moment.

[Tweet “More than 2,700 children have been saved from prostitution over the last 10 years.”]

People tend to think the girls who are rescued have a history of crime and violence or that they’ve done it to themselves by letting a pimp sweep in and start making a profit.  While some of our girls have come from juvenile hall, we’ve also seen girls who have come out of the foster care system.  From a similar restoration house in Texas, we’ve heard of a girl who was sold by her own parents and later forced to offer herself to men attending the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans³.

They’re just kids.

Courage Worldwide has two locations currently; one in Tanzania, Africa, and one in the Northern California area.  Our NorCal location is licensed to house girls ages 11-17 years old.  Our goal is to have a Courage House in every city that needs one.  Ambitious?  Yes.  Necessary?  Absolutely.  We’re not just a house or a safe place for these girls to stay.  We are there with them through the long haul.  When a new girl arrives she is set on a Unique Life Plan4.  Our goal is to equip each girl who walks through the doors with the skills and abilities she needs to become a successful, independent, self-reliant woman.  We want to break the cycle that is so easy for these girls to fall back in to if they aren’t give the time and resources to heal and be restored.

 

Who is Courage Worldwide from Courage Worldwide on Vimeo.

We are blessed to have a full house now and to see the healing our 6 beautiful girls are going through.  Unfortunately, so far this year, we’ve had to turn away 80 girls; one of the youngest was 11.  When we had the funds to expand, we were told we needed a mandatory water test done before we could break ground on our land; it was going to cost us $140,000.  Its news like that which makes it seem like a never-ending upstream battle.  But when you hear the stories of restoration, when girls who didn’t have a future are now going to university on a full scholarship, when another wants to join the Air Force, when lives are being changed, that’s what makes it worthwhile; that is what gives staff and volunteers the courage and faith to keep fighting.

I shall close with a paraphrased statement I heard during Courage House training.  The worse thing now for these girls is not that the pimps come after them.  It’s not even that the girls return back to the lifestyle.  The worse thing that can happen is that you know what’s going on in your nation and your neighborhood and you neglect to do anything about it.

Resources

  1. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/innocencelost
  2. Taft, I. (2014). FBI’s Sacramento office finds 9 child sex-trafficking victims in region. The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved from http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/23/6506392/fbi-recovers-9-child-sex-trafficking.html
  3. D Trotter. (2014, February 24). Sex trafficking in Dallas & Houston recap of filming “in plain sight” documentary. Retrieved from http://www.inplainsightfilm.com/sex-trafficking-texasrecap-filming-in-plain-sight-documentary/
  4. http://courageworldwide.org/blog/2012/09/13/unique-life-plan

 

For more information, check out courage world:

Question: Were you aware of the staggering statistics Bekah used in this post? What are you prepared to do about them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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3 thoughts on “Sex Trafficking – Alive and Well in the USA (Guest Post from Bekah Chan)

  1. Thank you for publishing my post. It means a lot to have you on board in the fight against this issue.

  2. This is such a scary topic, I’m glad there are people out there brave enough to attack it head on! I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities to help.