The Common Good

100,000 Lost Girls

Source: Utne Reader
Date: February 13, 2012

“As many as 100,000 girls are trafficked as sex slaves within the U.S.,” reports Sojourners, a magazine devoted to social justice. And the average age of entry into child prostitution or pornography? Between 12 and 14 years old.

Human sex trafficking might strike us as a distant overseas problem that plagues countries like Thailand and Cambodia, writes Sojourners, but “the United States has also been a leader of the pack.” The U.S. child sex trade is neatly facilitated through seemingly benign classified ad sites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com, where users can purchase anything from a used Honda to an escort, stripper, or other “adult job”—except by no means are all the people performing the sex work limited to adults, nor are they there by choice. “Girls as young as 11 have been identified in ads,” writes Andrea Powell in a Huffington Post article about ways to fight sex trafficking online. “Traffickers like the online world,” writes Powell, “because rather than having to move girls around, risking arrest, they hide in hotels where their victims are out of sight and much less likely to try to run away.”