For my advocacy class I gave a speech about child sex trafficking. If you follow my Facebook page, you will see that I am an advocate for Operation Underground Railroad or O.U.R. the non-profit organization that fights against child sex trafficking.
This dark organization of selling human beings is a $150 billion dollar industry and the highest demand for child sex, are Americans. I am going to share my speech with you as part of my journey to continue to enlighten others about what is happening in the world, right now. This could very well be your child and not something you want to ignore.
15-year old Lucy loves to watch the sun rise. She often closes her eyes and tries to imagine being on the receiving end of the sun: outside, free and warm. During this time of meditation, she finds herself reminiscing about, past family vacations. She would complain about being crammed in the car with 5 loud siblings. That was not her idea of a vacation, it was torture. But she knew that her family didn’t have much money, and so, close to home road trips were the only vacations her family could afford. Lucy’s thoughts would often drift to her mom, and how she would try her best to make the trip fun for her and her siblings. She would make up games and would bring everyone’s favorite snack. Her dad would try and sing loudly and purposely off key to make her younger siblings laugh. But Lucy ignored their efforts, and would complain to her parents that her friends were currently flying to Thailand, for their family vacation. Lucy begrudged her parents for not making enough money to take her on a more luxuries vacation like her friends. She promised herself that one day she would go to Thailand, with or without her parents.
Lucy thinks about her Thailand promise every day, and wishes she could take it back. She would do anything to be on one of those torturous family vacations, listening to her dad sing off key, graciously accepting her mom’s homemade, crustless, sandwich, while listening to her siblings attempt to sing along with her dad. Lucy’s current reality comes back into focus and she knows her mother’s sandwiches are now replaced with rotten rice and drugs. Her father’s offkey singing is now replaced with crying, screaming and pleas for home. Lucy is 1 of a million children who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation. She is a child prostitute in Thailand, abused, drugged, beaten and raped repeatedly by men over, and over again until sunrise.
The United States is one of the highest consumers for child sex in the world. All types of men from all walks of life, fly to vacation destinations to engage in sexual activities with minors. According to the National center for missing and exploited children…” Worldwide, prostituted children are exploited by both local and foreign patrons, trafficked across country borders to satisfy demand in the most popular sex-tourism destinations, and often held in virtual slavery or debt bondage. Children are increasingly sold and trafficked across frontiers– between developing and developed countries. The global child-sex trade, including the growth of child-sex tourism and the trafficking of children, has over the past decade gained attention and deserved outrage. The growing popularity of child-sex tourism can be attributed in part to sex tourists seeking out alternative, less restrictive destinations. These American men would travel to different countries rape children and then would return back to the United States where they knew, they were safe from prosecution.
But in 2006, the game drastically changed when George W. Bush signed into law the Adam Walsh child protect act. Which removed the statutory requirement that if you wanted to go after an American pedophile who was hurting children overseas, you had to prove that they had the intent to rape the child, while standing on U.S. soil. That was impossible to prove, and before 2006 there were zero prosecutions. Now they only need to prove that the American went overseas, sexually exploited a child and that perpetrator can be held accountable as if they had committed that crime here in the United States. The penalties for illicit sexual conduct with another person include facing fines and up to 30 years in prison. Anti-human trafficking organizations can now team up with foreign officials and bring the abusers to justice.
I feel that it is our duty to shine the light on these despicable human beings who are exploiting and abusing innocent children. We need more education in communities teaching about human trafficking on how to spot it and how to avoid becoming a victim. The Adam Walsh protect act is only serving a symptom. The answer to the root of the problem starts in the home with parents, who are emotionally available and listen without judgement. Our kids need to know that we are the safest place for them.