Today is International Women’s Day. My children, of both genders, seem to have a great deal of opportunity and access to great teachers, mentors and role models. They live in a stable home.
But, I know that’s rare. So, I thought it would be appropriate to write about women and girls who have little choice and control over their lives. These are people who are being trafficked and exploited for sex.
You may think that violent sex trafficking happens only abroad, but you’re wrong. It happens everywhere in the U.S., and most certainly, in your home town.
You may think that most sex workers are free and choose that work temporarily. Nope. The average age of a new sex worker is 13 years-old, who entered “the life” because of force, fraud and/or coercion. And, they’re brutalized if they try to leave.
It is insane.
Through a very clued-in friend, I was introduced to some amazingly brave people in Boston, who work in the streets to rescue young people from a life of commercial sexual exploitation.
One of them recommended that I read Girls Like Us, which is written by a survivor herself. It is a gritty, raw, but uplifting book. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
I had no idea that abusive pimps troll bus stations and subway stops to find runaways, who have fled dysfunctional foster homes or families. Here’s an excerpt:
The desire for a family is so strong and so overpowering for most children that it doesn’t take much to create that illusion. Pimps play upon this desire by creating a pseudo-family structure of girls who are your “wives-in-law” headed up by a man you call “Daddy”….. The greater their need for attention and love, the easier it is to recruit them…. Growing up with an alcoholic or drug addicted parent sets the stage for caretaking and codependency patterns that are helpful in making girls feel responsible for taking care of their pimp.
I’d like to ask you to get up to speed on the topic of sex trafficking and that so many young girls need our help. Horrific crimes, unspeakable violence, and depraved brutality are occurring in our backyard.
Please do not turn a blind eye.