Does it really exist in the Valley?
Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29 “I was 15 when my first pimp approached me. He bought me clothes and food. He promised me the world, and said I had nothing to worry about, that he would take care of me. I ended up on a street corner in Allentown working for him.” Sex trafficking Victim Survivor, Allentown, PA.
What does sex trafficking look like?
Pimp-controlled street/indoor prostitution
Commercial-front massage parlors
Closed residential brothels
Victims are advertised on internet sites, then placed in hotels/motels where customers use them.
Commercial front business, agricultural operations
In PA many truck stops are known for playing host to sex trafficking
Is prostitution a choice?
Any person induced to perform a commercial sex act and has not attained 18 years of age is deemed a victim of sex trafficking.
At least 100,000 children are used in prostitution every year in the United States.
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old.
Prostituted girls are often controlled by a pimp who recruits them into sex trafficking by posing as a boyfriend, caretaker, and protector.
The three primary manifestations of child sex trafficking in America are pimp-controlled prostitution, familial prostitution, and/or survival sex.1
Of America’s 400,000 annual runaways, 1 of 3 is lured into prostitution within 48 hours. An obstacle for these minors is their mis-identification as criminals rather than victims. They are labeled as child prostitutes or juvenile delinquents and punished for the crime that is committed against them.
Does the victim have to be physically moved to be considered a victim of trafficking?
No, most people hear the word “trafficking” and assume it means the victims are being moved from place to place or transported across the county, when in reality anyone under 18 is considered a domestic minor trafficking victim.
Why don’t more people know about human trafficking?
It’s hidden beyond the ‘acceptable’ sex industry and there are alot of misconceptions regarding the victimization of girls and women who are prostituted.
What can be done once someone becomes trapped in sex/labor slavery?
It is important to offer hope, resources for women—to eventually rescue them, but this may take time. Some women many not even realize their need to be rescued or see any opportunities TO be rescued.
Housing is a huge issue; as well as helping the victims access services for food, health care, employee assistance/job training; some may need ESL; others want reunification with family/country or integration into a new family.
There are many resources around the country/world that are starting to be formed that operate on many levels—changing laws/building awareness; street outreach or walk-in centers that provide services prior to a woman leaving prostitution; and finally safe-homes—which offer residence with a variety of holistic services. Along with the practical needs—the victim will need to be integrated into a community and offered support and therapeutic services.
Local News stories:
Fox News on Human Trafficking in Easton with survivor Helene Part 1 and collaboration with VAST Part 2
Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29
1 According to “The National Report On Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking”