Human Trafficking Awareness Day -- January 11

Child Sex Trafficking Huge Problem in the U.S.

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 8 -- On June 22, 2007, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution making January 11th an annual day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking across the globe.

Shared Hope International (SHI) , an organization working to eliminate sexual slavery has conducted assessments in 10 U.S. cities examining the condition of America's trafficked youth. They also plan a nationwide awareness campaign on victims of "domestic minor sex trafficking" (DMST).

Not Just a Foreign Problem

Most people imagine "human trafficking" occurs in far away countries with troubled and impoverished governments. In the U.S. many believe that the 17 million people trafficked across our borders who work as slaves in the form of labor and forced sexual services come from these other countries. SHI's research and field investigations reveal that large numbers of American citizens - children at the average age of 12 - are trafficked locally between American cities and across state lines.

SHI recommends that solutions include the following:

  • Victim identification - DMST victims are often called "child prostitutes" or juvenile delinquents and treated like criminals when they should be properly identified and should receive protection and specialized services.
  • Strong legislation - laws that criminalize traffickers and buyers while protecting victims should result in convictions with appropriate sentences
  • Protection - DMST victims require secured safe homes and specialized services that rescue and restore the children while removing them from the control of the trafficker/pimp.

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