The Blaze also noted how 2,700 children have been rescued by the FBI since 2003 under its Innocence Lost initiative, in partnership with the nonprofit group the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Moreover, roughly 1,350 convictions of sex traders have been brought about by the FBI. Many of the convicted got "lengthy sentences," and 10 received life sentences.
The FBI reported: "Today, the business of human sex trafficking is much more organized and violent. These women and young girls (and boys) are sold to traffickers, locked up in rooms or brothels for weeks or months, drugged, terrorized, and raped repeatedly. These continual abuses make it easier for the traffickers to control their victims. The captives are so afraid and intimidated that they rarely speak out against their traffickers, even when faced with an opportunity to escape."
Sex trafficking victim Chong Kim shared just how intense it was during her couple of years of captivity: "The first year I was in there, I literally became numb; I thought I was going to die as a sex slave. ... When I started to become defiant with the traffickers, the traffickers would look at the girls we were close to, and with that, they would actually tie us to a chair and make us watch the girl that we were close to or the child we were close to get tortured, sodomized and raped for hours and hours on end. We went through beatings; we were held in the bathtub with ice." (Kim's story, now put into the award-winning film "Eden," is proof of how ethnic sexual slavery can be easily overlooked and victims can be carted around the heartland of America without ever being noticed.)
The Justice Department estimates that of the roughly 450,000 U.S. children who run away from home each year, at least one-third of teens end up homeless and lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. This is another reason it is so imperative that the lost are found quickly.
Shared Hope International (http://sharedhope.org), whose mission is to eradicate sex trafficking, has a helpful website with many great resources to help you help others caught in the webs of sexual slavery, including a section in which you can view report cards for how your state is doing in the fight against human trafficking.
The website for the Polaris Project (http://www.polarisproject.org), a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking, also has a state-by-state map that you can click on and access in-depth information and resources in your area.
The Polaris Project also provides the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which is a toll-free hotline available for calls and texts from anywhere in the country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Call it at 888-373-7888, or text "help" or "info" to BE-FREE (233733).
In Part 2, I will address what specifically entices adolescents to sex trafficking, as well as discuss an industry that is perhaps the greatest perpetrator of it and tell the inspirational story about how one woman escaped it after seven years.