I was interviewing a young girl in Atlanta last year. She was small with big black eyes and so young and fragile. Her voice was low and she kept her eyes down when she spoke. But she looked up at me when she said this: “Why do men think it’s ok to do this to us? Aren’t they supposed to protect us?” And she really wanted to know.
This film is going to be hard to watch. It is about the selling and buying of children for sex. This film is for the man who is on the edge of buying a child for sex. We are hoping to educate you to the point where you don’t cross over and buy.
This film is also for parents. We want to give you information to help prevent your child from being coerced and trafficked. Please watch with an open mind. Any child is a potential target.
This film is also for the members of your community who are willing to get involved to stop or curtail this very lucrative business. I once thought this could not happen in my small community, but it does. It happens in every community. Together, we can absolutely make a difference by demanding our law makers to get involved.
And, this film is for law enforcement and educators who are working hard to put an end to this brutal behavior. We thank the women of law enforcement who pushed us to make this film.
This business is getting stronger week by week. There are strict laws in place for possessing and selling heroin. If you are caught selling it, you go to prison. Not so for selling a human being. The laws are just too lax and often the complicity is so prevalent, men in the highest positions in the country are getting away with this misconduct.
Harvey Weinstein, Robert Kraft, Jeffrey Epstein, and Bill Cosby are just a few of the high-profile males that have been caught and had friends complicit in their behavior. Both are equally guilty. Three out of four of these men have been implicated in buying and having sex with children as young as 14 years old, maybe even younger.
People in high places with money are able to buy their way out of monstrous circumstances. So many men are complicit and look the other way. If you are a man who is complicit, we hope this film speaks to you. We want you to know what these children are going through so you don’t turn away when you know what your friends or colleagues are doing. We know this takes an immense amount of courage, but in doing so you are a hero.
If we want to stop the selling of children for sex, it is men who have to step forward and take the initiative. Men are generally the sellers and the buyers. If you don’t buy, the so-called product will dry up. And that’s a good thing.
In this film you will meet David, whose father began grooming him as a little boy, like he was property and had no feelings. At about four years old, David’s father began raping him and soon afterward began selling him to others, beginning with his uncle.
You will meet Greg, who was trafficked by a very powerful man as a young teenager and he has carried his recovery into his life today and is actively trying to fight the issue.
These are not isolated situations. This happens all the time in the world of sexual deviation and sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking generates annual profits of nearly $100 billion, according to the International Labor Organization, making it the most profitable form of slavery the world has ever seen. Under the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act, sex trafficking involves the recruitment or transfer of a person; through force, fraud, or coercion; for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
Gone are the days when men have kids shipped from other countries. Children are so easy to lure, they don’t need to go further than the neighborhood mall. It’s important to know that you are not being overprotective if you don’t want your daughter to hang out at the mall. Talk to your kids about why you won’t let them go unchaperoned. Tell them the truth.
As an example, most of the kids who are trafficked in Las Vegas are from Las Vegas. Most kids who are trafficked in any city are generally from that city.
Boys are a hot commodity, especially when young. Many believe that only girls are trafficked but that’s not so. Boys are just as sought after when they are pre-pubescent.
These kids are taught to lie and sell themselves. The girls are taught exactly what to say to men. They’ll say things like, “I love my job.” “I’m putting myself through college,” “All of this is my idea,” when actually, it’s all an act for the men to get as much money as they can get from them.
The reason it is hard to stop this kind of trafficking is because it’s not only happening in depressed neighborhoods. This is also a problem in white, educated, and married with children surburbia.
How to identify a child who may be at risk for child sex trafficking
Did you know that children rarely disclose that they have been sexually exploited? Trafficked children often suffer from depression, hostility, stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fear of authority, as well as fear of those who are exploiting them. Outward signs may appear as simple as difficult behavior or resistance to assistance, but could also take on more extreme characteristics.
In order to protect your child, there is information you need to have. Below is a list of possible trafficking indicators and warning signs, provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), one of our partners in the fight against child sexual exploitation. Keep in mind that the presence of these warning signs does not definitively mean the child is being trafficked, but serve as clues to be assessed within the broader context of all information presented.
Warning signs of child sex trafficking
• Chronic runaway/homeless youth.
• Excess amount of cash in their possession (may be reluctant to explain its source).
• Hotel keys and key cards.
• Lying about age/false ID.
• Inconsistencies when describing and recounting events.
• Unable or unwilling to give local address or information about parent(s)/guardian.
• Presence or fear of another person (often an older male or boyfriend who seems controlling).
• High number of reported sexual partners at a young age.
• Sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
• Injuries/signs of physical abuse (that they may be reluctant to explain).
• Is not enrolled in school or repeated absence from school.
• Does not consider self a victim.
• Loyalty to positive feelings toward pimp/trafficker.
• May try to protect pimp/trafficker from authorities.
• Prepaid cell phone.
What you can do to protect your children
Open communication is key. One of the most important things you can do to protect your child is to create an environment in which they feel comfortable talking with you. You should talk about the dangers of sex trafficking with your kids and encourage them to let you know if they encounter an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation.
We hope that through this film, you can change a life. Together, we really can stop this horrendous behavior that has been accepted for millennia.
If you suspect any child is being trafficked, please call the Human Trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.