Bodies Are Not For Sale

When this project was introduced, I knew I was meant to choose child sex trafficking. There was one class in English in 7th grade that made it so. We watched a documentary called Very Young Girls where my teacher knew a lady who helped with the program that was shown in the documentary. The documentary took about two class periods to finish and afterwards, we had two projects pertaining to this topic. In the project we focused mainly on African American exploited girls. This time, I wanted to show statistically how many and what kinds of children are prostituted in the United States. I found the information presented horrifying, but what really spoke to me was what little was being done to help these children. Many children are arrested for prostitution, and many go right back to doing it after being freed. Officials may think that because they return to that life, then they want to be there, but Very Young Girls shined a light of what mentally goes on in the child's head. The documentary focused on about 7 different girls stories, so they can’t really speak for the entire population, but here is what I've gathered.

  • Pimps are very persistent

  • They look for girls who are most vulnerable and need help.

  • It's better for a pimp to take a low-profile girl because nobody will come looking for them

  • Once he’s helped you out of whatever problems you have, then he starts to force you to go out on corners and help him with his business.

  • Many girls feel like they owe their pimp something because he gave them what their parents couldn’t  

  • They help him because they think that if they don’t, then he will leave them and they will go back to being homeless, or unwanted in their homes, or whatever the case may be.Related image

  • Many Pimps also threaten them saying that they would find them wherever they are and kill them if they ever leave.

  • They don’t see a way out. So they stay.  

  • After leaving a life where you are sold 4-6 times a day, it’s very hard to adjust.

Like I said, these points are just some things I thought of while watching the documentary. It may not necessarily be what you gathered. In addition, these are points from many different stories, not just the account of one girl.

Once I refreshed my memory on what I saw in seventh grade, I started to do even more research on a broader plane. I looked into a Huffington Post blog which more or so focused on the statistics and found that there are 2 million children are victims of child sex trafficking each year across the globe and 300,000 of those kids are in America. America still isn’t the most common place for children to be trafficked. Children are constantly being pursued by predators. They showed that there are many online predators looking for children. The blog states, “ The number of children being contacted by sexual predators online is disturbing and astounding at the same time. Approximately one out of every seven children is sexually contacted, or solicited, by a predator while online.” The documentary showed girls that were pursued in person at random times in the day, but this blog shows that there are many other ways that predators hunt for kids and they are relentless.

Furthermore, I decided to get information on the type of kids predators look for. I looked into the website Thorn, which is devoted to teaching people about various problems in the world. I found there study on child sex trafficking and found some interesting statistics. Kids who are homeless or runaways, LGBTQ, African American or Latino, and youth interacting with the child welfare system are more vulnerable to this type of exploitation. 52% of child arrests relating to prostitution are African American Children. Runaways and homeless kids are at an even greater risk of being exploited. 25% of children sampled for a survey admitted that they felt the need to trade sex for money or food. In another study, 86% of the children were in the care of social services or foster care. These statistics support some of my findings from the documentary because they show that low profile children are at a higher risk for child sex prostitution.

Afterwards, I looked into the impact of child sex trafficking physically and mentally on the exploited children. I read through a article on a site called Ark of Hope for Children. Where I looked specifically into the section titled Physical and Mental Consequences of Trafficking for Victims. Victims of child sex trafficking struggle significant problem, physically and mentally. Of course, the physical comes from having sex involuntarily many times daily. They may catch STDs, pelvic pains, rectal pains, and urinary difficulties. Mentally, they can suffer from a variety of problems. Depression, self-hate, shame, eating disorders, PTSD, fear, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, drug addiction and many more. Prostitution is ruining the lives of thousands of children. during and many years after the crimes are committed. Related image

Also, in the documentary, the girls who spoke out about how their lives were like were all apart of this program called G.E.M.S which stands for Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. This program had directors who really cared about the girls and wanted to really help them out of their situation. So went to their official site. They’re purpose is to empower girls and women, ages 12-24, who have been victims of sex trafficking and help them exit the commercial sex industry. They are centered in New York state. The founder is Rachel Lloyd who started this program in 1998 because she had been sexually exploited as a teenager and she wanted to help others like her. They want to focus on building girls up and showing them that they are beautiful and have potential for future success.

For more information and research, click here for my annotated bibliography

Comments (3)

Randy Le (Student 2021)
Randy Le

I liked how you opened up yourself on the first time you ever encountered this topic.

For you next steps…

What can you do in school to help stop the problem?

Can you do anything currently in your school to prevent this from happening?

Overall, you have a good and big problem that you are addressing and it is important to reduce the percents of this happening anywhere. In addition, your research looks great but is there anything you could do with the programs you listed in your research. Maybe email or do an interview, something to get your point across and show how much/will you try to stop this problem.

Caleb McCreary (Student 2021)
Caleb McCreary

You provided tons of information about this topic and explained it very professionally. It was refreshing to be given signs of human trafficking in a list, rather than being stretched out in paragraphs.

Sarah Cohen (Student 2021)
Sarah Cohen

For your original research, it could be cool to talk to try to get in contact with the director of the documentary. You could also talk to maybe a survivor of child prostitution