One of the most significant scourges continuing to befall humanity worldwide is the ongoing exploitation and sexual abuse of over 2 million girls, and sometimes boys, through sex trafficking. UNICEF estimates that 2.5 million children, most of them girls, are tricked or forced into the multibillion-dollar global sex industry.
While the struggle to save, protect and defend the safety and wellbeing of at risk children is and will remain an ongoing, sometimes uphill battle, it is a necessary fight. One of those fighting this battle is Nepalese writer and journalist Kamala Sarup. In one of her articles, “Lost Daughters: An Ongoing Tragedy In Nepal,” Kamala describes the situation in Nepal: “Nepal girls are cheaper to buy, much more cooperative and much easier to control and enslave. Girls from the rural regions are known to be much more obedient and considered more attractive for brothel owners who may want to resell them.”
In recent years Kamala has organized activities addressing issues of HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking in Nepal. Another recent media expose covering the issue of sex trafficking in Nepal and India was CNN’s Nepal’s Stolen Children, which highlighted and exposed, particularly to U.S. viewers, the plight of South Asian victims of sex trafficking.
Southeast Asia is another location where large numbers of girls are forced into the sex trafficking industry. There have been ongoing reports of girls in the north of Thailand being sold into prostitution by one or both parents.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia also have many girl victims of the child sex trade. One of Cambodia’s victim’s of sex trafficking, Somaly Mam, sold into prostitution at age twelve, escaped after over ten years of ongoing abuse. Her story can be found in her unforgettable book, The Road of Lost Innocence, a must read for everyone.
Trustlaw ranks the most dangerous countries for women and girls as Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan, with India and Somalia ranking fourth and fifth. Human Trafficking: The Facts website states that 56 percent of those trafficked are in Asia or the Pacific, 10 percent in Latin America and the Carribean, 9.2 percent in in the Middle East and North Africa, 5.2 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, 10.8 percent in industrialized countries and 8 percent are in countries in transition.
The U.S. is one of the top three destination points for trafficking, and California, New York, Texas and Nevada are the top destination states.
About 300,000 American children work as prostitutes in the United States. Traffickers prey on the 1.6 million to 2.8 million children who run away annually in the U.S. 50 percent of runaways are girls, and one-third are forced into prostitution or involved in pornography.
In December, Congress passed the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act. The bill was reintroduced into the Senate by Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and is pending there.