Child and teen sex trafficking often starts between the ages of 12 and 14. Many of these girls have been abandoned, have run away from home, or have been sold into the trade. They live on the streets and feel that the only way to support themselves financially is to solicit their bodies for sex. It’s not uncommon for these youths to fall victim to drug abuse...and the only way to support their developing habit is to make money by selling their bodies. Sex traffickers lure and prey upon these vulnerable and needy teens. They know the these children won’t make it on their own so they abduct them, pressure them through deception, make false promises, force them to leave home, and keep them from any hope of reconnecting with someone they know by isolating them from civilization. The pimps become the sole provider and the teen becomes a silent prisoner to his/her own life. Many of these teens are helpless and have no other means to survive.
So - who is stealing the innocence and childhood from these teens? I wish I could paint you a mental picture of the typical trafficker, or pimp...but I can’t. Traffickers come from every walk of life. Both men and women run sex rings and it's a profitable criminal industry. Traffickers who have a ring of victims, usually have a "bottom," or the person who’s at the top of prostitution ladder. This person is usually a victim that has been with the trafficker for a long time and has earned his or her trust. The bottom is responsible for collecting money from the teens, disciplining them, and getting new recruits.
If you suspect child sex trafficking or human trafficking, report it. Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888. This is a national, toll-free hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the US, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur.