My sister Jessica Dobb worked as a social worker for ______________. While working with there she came crossed countless hopeless situations with young children. One story that has stayed in her mind and this young girl’s name is Maddie. Maddie was a young four-year-old girl was when she was first sold into sex trafficking by her mom’s boyfriend. Maddie’s mom has a higher form of _____ and didn’t understand how to be a mom. The mom’s boyfriend sexually abused Maddie’s siblings until child protective services took away the older siblings away and left Maddie in the home.
They couldn’t prove that there had been harm to Maddie, so they left her in the home. The boyfriend started to sell Maddie to neighborhood friends, family, or anyone that would want to buy her for their pleasure. She grew up learning that everything like food, clothes, etc. all came at a price. Later Maddie was sold to a her “pimp” when she was 7. Her pimp pumped her with hormones and drugs to make her look older than she was and get her addicted to the drugs to control her better. Maddie was sold for eight years on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids on Division Street.
Her pimp got busted during a drug deal and was sent to prison for a very long time. Maddie was placed in a foster home with young boys and they all shared one room. Unfortunately, Maddie growing up only knowing to please with physical touch found toughing the little boys inappropriately during the night. Maddie was moved into a residential house and worked with my sister. She learned social norms like how to use toilet paper, not to undress to get food, and the little things that make her who she is. Jessica would take her on walks around the center.
Maddie would be looking into cars as they walked by and she was looking for her “bae” which was her pimp. To this day I don’t know where Maddie is or how she is doing, but I do know that this is an awful cycle with many young girls who are sold on a daily basis. Everyone always thinks that it is someone where else that this is happening, but the sad reality that it’s happening right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The reason why I picked this topic is because I think this is a social problem needs to be addressed more.
Right now there are several organizations and funds being collected to help rescue these young ladies. The history behind human and sex trafficking has been in the United States since we first came to America with slave trading. The early Americans would force other slaves to breed with slaves and often would rape them to produce more slaves or force them to be their wives. During the nineteenth century “White slavery” was becoming a more uncommon theme. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary white slavery is defined as, “forced prostitution”.
It’s progressively has gotten worse throughout the years and according to the united nations, “Estimates range from 800,000 new victims each year, according to the U. S. State Department, to 2. 5 million, according to the International Labor Organization. ” (Untied Nations) Sex trafficking is happening to people like you with me in our own “backyard”. Sex trafficking has survived this many centuries because the item that is being sold or trafficked can be resold several times a day and will last for years at a time.
The younger the girl the higher the price the pimp will make off of her. 150,000-$200,000: The amount a pimp can make each year, per child” (NPR) Most pimps have more than one child that is being sold. The pimps get their victims at malls, stores, parks, anyone who is alone or is an easy grab. The sad reality is that “100,000-300,000: The number of children sold for sex in the U. S. each year” (NPR). It breaks my heart to think of all of those young boys and girls who are in that position. My sister Jessica said that the pimps would hire 12-14-year-old boys at Rivertown Mall to get these young girls to come out to the parking lot alone.
They would convince them to come outside to make out with them and the pimp would come and take the young girls away. It’s a sad world that we live in that our young girls can’t go shopping without being targeted. Some of the cities that are the most targeted and have the most traffickers are identified by the FBI. “In 2003, the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Unit identified these 13 U. S. cities as having a high incidence rate of child prostitution.
Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas, Detroit, Tampa, Fla. , Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, New York City, Washington, D. C, Las Vegas, St. Louis” It is crazy to think that Detroit is number four on the FBI’s list of cities. Detroit is about three hours from Grand Rapids and its scary to think that we are that close to this global problem. It affects all of those innocent children, parents, extended families, and their communities. If those kids are lucky enough to be able to return home to a “normal” life it will be something that they will struggle with the rest of their life. The psychological effects far outweigh the physical pain that they endured over the years.
Most of the young children never will be rescued from this terrible lifestyle that they face every night. I can’t fathom what those parents are going through not knowing where your precious child is and want their day to day is facing. This awful cycle effects society as a whole because the victim could easily be your neighbors kid, your niece or nephew, or even your own child. It affects society as a whole because “Since human trafficking involves selling a person for sex, pregnancies would be expected.
No matter, human traffickers have even found a way to make that seem dark and twisted. They force those who are pregnant to have abortions, with unclean instruments by non certified practitioners. ”(Social Impact) These traffickers are taking their basic human rights away from these victims and it’s a tragic reality. It always spread many sexual diseases, according to Fair Fund, “traffickers are zillion times more prone to transmitted diseases than any other individual. HIV/AIDS is quite common among them.
Most of the time victims are isolated and they can’t return to the social life that they once had. What is being done about the horrible problem? In October 2000, the U. S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which includes the prevention of trafficking, the prosecution of criminals and protection and assistance to victims of trafficking, both in the United States and abroad. ” There are also countless organization that helps get victims back on their feet and helped to “normalize” back into society.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) has the help and resources to not only find these victims but also help them get back into society. Some of the signs that you can watch out for are: “Common Work and Living Conditions: Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes, Works excessively long and/or unusual hours, Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work, High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e. g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc. ”
Some abnormal behaviors that you will notice in a victim are, Abnormal Behavior: Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement, Avoids eye contact. Another common sign of being sex trafficked is lack of control, “Lack of Control: Has few or no personal possessions, Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account, Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport), Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)”
These are only a few of the signs to look for. One of the first steps in helping these victims get the help that they need to get out of this lifestyle is knowledge of what is happening and knowing the signs. Another thing that you can do is start being active in the community and volunteering to help these organizations. If you don’t have the time to donate to these organizations one could donate financially and still help in a great way. I personally think that everyone should talk to their teens and preteenagers about protecting themselves and people around them.
Children, teenagers, and young adults are all at risk at any time for being taken. Talk to them about playing it safe when it comes to the basic everyday activity that they face. We live in a sad, disturbing world that unfortunately has sex trafficking in it. Victims can be at any age and can be taken at anytime and anywhere. These victims are getting their very basic human rights taken away from them just for the pleasure of those who pay for sexual behaviors down.
These victims will have a lifetime of scars not only physical, but also mental scars that will be with them until the day they die. The positive news is that there several organizations that are trying to get the innocent people back into a society and rescue them from the hell that they are facing everyday. Be aware and watch for the signs for people who may be a victim to this. Talk to your loved ones and others to get people aware of what is happening in our world today. Also, welcome people back into society that may have been victim to this awful cycle of abuse.