10 Surprising and Counterintuitive Facts About Child Sex Trafficking
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Moreover, many children who enter ‘the life’ at an early age are brainwashed by their trafficker to believe that this is the only ‘job’ they are cut out to do, as Sheila White, Survivor Leadership Coordinator at Girls Education & Mentoring Services (GEMS), writes:
“I too was in a place where I thought being in the life was all I was ever capable of doing. In fact, I never saw myself as a victim of anything and I believed that I would always be defined by my past. It wasn’t until I came to GEMS at the age of 16 that my life and self-perception began to change. As time passed, I began to see a difference in myself; I began to believe, confidently, I could actually have a life after being in the life,” she wrote.
It is for this reason that sex trafficking survivor, Tina Frundt, says labeling survivors as victims is misleading: “We are never a victim, even on the street. If we label kids that way we take away that notion that we had to survive on the street. We saw rapes, murders, things people never will ever be able to talk about and we survived and we continued on. We’re survivors and it’s the ‘victim’ mindset we must transition,” she said
10. Sex trafficking funds and resources are misappropriated
While the United States has spent almost $1.2 billion fighting sex trafficking globally, much of those funds have been misallocated on advertising and anti-trafficking campaigns rather than spent on actual evidence-based research and rescue operations.
Furthermore, the tendency for organizations and anti-trafficking groups to inflate trafficking statistics and focus disproportionate attention on “pimped girls” has meant that young boys, transgendered youth and those children of any gender who aren’t enslaved by the traditional “pimp” or subject to labor trafficking miss out.
Ronald Weitzer, Professor of Sociology at George Washington University and author of ‘ Sex Trafficking and the Sex Industry: The Need for Evidence Based Theory and Legislation, explains this motif: “NGOs have figured out that they can appeal to the public, donors and funders if they emphasize sex trafficking of girls, which has a very clear purpose in attracting government funding, public and media attention. If resources are being misappropriated to less frequent types of trafficking then there is a danger that others who are victimized like hidden populations are being ignored. Moreover, if labor trafficking is much more prevalent in the United States than sex trafficking as the International Labor Organization says it is, than it suggests we should alter the balance toward labor trafficking,” he said.