Sex is in the news these days, what with Harvey Weinstein having been accused by 84 people. The Nassar scandal has shaken the gymnastic world with 140 women accusing and testifying. Not to mention Pussy Cat Doll Kaya Jones claim that the girl group appeared to be just a front for a ‘prostitution ring’. “My truth. I wasn’t in a girl group. I was in a prostitution ring. Oh & we happened to sing & be famous. While everyone who owned us made the $.” Kaya, who was in the group from 2003 – 2005, claimed she had to “sleep with whoever they say” and said they were “all abused”.
Internationally known advocate and expert against human trafficking, Jan Edwards states that sex trafficking is considered the New American slavery and the U.S. Justice Department estimates that 14,00-17,500 people are trafficked in the US every year. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 57,700 people are victims of human trafficking and most of those that are impacted are young children, teens and women. Each year 244,000 American Children and youth are at risk for sex trafficking each year.
Jan Edwards is the founder and CEO of Paving the Way, an organization committed to being a fierce disruption in the cycle of child trafficking around the globe. This is accomplished through educational and training programs that empower communities to break the cycle. She’s been featured in the Huffington Post, Marie Claire UK, on iHeart Radio as an expert in prevention and was recently awarded Humanitarian of the Year. Jan is also the writer and producer of the award-winning film, Trapped in the Trade, which was featured on CNN.
According to Stop The Abuse and RAIIN, prepubescent children who are trafficked are almost always trafficked by a parent or foster parent. Most people who sexually abuse children by forming a significant relationship with the child and slowly “grooming” them to desensitize them to touch and to keeping the abuse secret. When people ask what they can do to protect their children from traffickers, the answer is “don’t sexually abuse them. Don’t let anyone else sexually abuse them. Trafficking only represents 2.6 percent of child sexual abuse. However according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida has the 3rd highest number of sex trafficking victims in the US, only behind California and Texas. Another frightening fact, the average age is just 12 years old. 68 children an hour across the US become trapped in this world.
Ultimately, ending human trafficking means preventing abuse.