Monday, May 10, 2010

The Dangers Of The Streets: Child Trafficking

By Gaetane Borders
Your browser may not support display of this image. The newswires were working overtime in the past several days.  The reason is because Lawrence Taylor, a former NFL player, was charged with third-degree rape and soliciting prostitution in a case involving a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Rockland County, NY according to the authorities.  The 16-year-old was a runaway who police said was forced into prostitution.  She was reported missing from her home in March.

Police also say that the girl had been staying with a 36-year-old parolee, Rasheed Davis, in the Bronx. Reportedly, the two met a few weeks ago at a bus stop.  After a conversation in which she indicated that she did not have a place to stay, Davis offered her refuge. He later forced her to perform sexual favors for others.

Last Thursday morning, Davis reportedly punched and kicked her, drove her to a hotel against her will and told her she had to have sex with Taylor. Although she continued to refuse, Davis reportedly handed her over to Taylor, who sexually assaulted her, reports indicate. Taylor then paid her $300, which she gave to Davis.

The police learned of this chain of events when the girl’s uncle, who had reported her missing, called the New York Police Department saying he had received a text message from her. In it, she said she was being driven back to the Bronx and gave the address where she was headed. City officers went to the address and found the girl with Davis who was charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault and endangering the welfare of a child.   

No doubt, one reason why this crime has received a lot of attention is because of Lawrence Taylor’s celebrity.  However, there are thousands of young girls and boys who are forced into sexual slavery each day.  In fact, child prostitution is a major issue not only in the U.S., but also around the world.  Atlanta is one city in the U.S. that Federal law enforcement considers to be a hub for child prostitution. Advocates contend at least 400 minors are in prostitution in Georgia, mostly in metro Atlanta.  Many are 14 or younger. 
A recent report by the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic at Emory University estimated that hundreds of children were being used as prostitutes throughout Georgia. They come from troubled families and often have histories of truancy, and typically ran away from home after being sexually abused.  Once on the street, they face increased risks of being battered or killed. They are also likely to experience drug addiction or psychiatric disorders and contract diseases. 
Most runaway children do not realize the dangers of living on the streets. According to the National Runaway Switchboard, 75% of runaways will become involved in theft, drugs or pornography. Moreover, one out of every three teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.  
This is how…
Children are recruited by pimps in arcades, malls, entertainment centers, at tourist attractions and concerts. They move from city to city looking for children who are alone, desperate, and alienated. They often entice the victims with money and luxury items. Once the pimp moves a child from her hometown into a strange city, they can easily force them to work as a prostitute through the use of drugs, violence, intimidation, and mental abuse.  

Your browser may not support display of this image. Child prostitutes require specialized care for effective intervention. They are sure to have both physical and emotional scars that will have lasting affects.   Many experts agree that residential care is the most effective.  There are some agencies across the country that specialize in helping former child prostitutes.  However, the resources are not extensive.  There is a definite need for more treatment centers to help rebuild the lives of these victimized children.  Moreover, we need to make protecting children a national priority every day of the year, and not only during election times or to merely sell more copies of a magazine…or when it involves a celebrity. 

Gaétane F. Borders, MA, ABD 

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1 comment:

  1. We all need to take a stand against violence. Large corporations like the NFL must have adequate policies and procedures in place. These athletes and their records speak directly to our children who idolize them. And these large corporations should understand how they have a responsibility in this issue of Human Trafficking.
    We have put together our first petition to the NFL. Here's a link.


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