The Peace and Justice Committee.
The Committee has a weekly entry in the bulletin that I usually skim through; global warming - I know. Loaves and Fishes - I know. Respect life = no more war - I know.
Today: Human trafficking near you. I didn't know.
I hardly think of it - I pray for kids who are abused and who suffer all of the time - in fact every month in my novena to the Infant Jesus - but my prayer is not limited to those nine days. It can be such an abstract thought however, strangely limited to far away events such as the Islamic child bride stories, or International kidnap stories. Having been abused - more at sexually-used myself, I have real, heart aching concern for kids whose lives are corrupted and destroyed in this manner. I just never think of Minnesota as a resource for human trafficking.
- The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of the nation’s 13 largest centers for child prostitution. 6
- By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity. 7
- A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services. 7
- In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. 8
- About 50% of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they first traded sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13. 9 - http://www.mngirlsnotforsale.org/educate/get-the-facts/
It is very difficult to come to terms with statistics like these. It is very, very hard even to think about - to even try and imagine the filthy, disgusting, soul-destroying activities perpetrated upon young children. I read stories of the modern day - though culturally medieval Muslims in Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere, who not only marry young girl children, but also screw around with boys for sexual pleasure, yet if one of their natural children falls into dishonor - off with their heads. The perversion inflicted upon children isn't limited to Islam - obviously - and such abuse must have been with us throughout every epoch in every culture. Yet why do we continue to let it happen today? How is it we continue to ignore it?
How is it that we only respond to such crimes when it affects our middle to upper classes and our sacred institutions? To be sure, the sex-trafficking discussed here goes on below our radar. It's underworld, street life stuff - yet it might be going on in a neighborhood or suburb not far from our nice part of town. How is that? Amongst the poor - inner city poor - it's always been a problem. People knew about it when I was little. Just like people in the upper class knew about Sandusky, and churchmen knew about clerics and educators. Why don't we do anything?
In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. 8What can be done to stop it? Healing from sexual abuse is one thing - but preventing it seems to me to be even more critical. Breaking the chain of secrets and lies, and exposing the perpetrators - and punishing them - even the Islamic offenders, might be a good start.
Parents and single people alike: Protect the children.
When I was a kid - I wasn't enslaved by a pimp, nor was I sold or looking to make money - I was just used sexually. I also got to a point where I found acceptance and approval from the men who picked me up. I had a nice place to sleep sometimes. Kids want to be loved and protected - poor kids just as much as rich kids.
My parents knew people in the bar who actually offered their daughters for cash. Nothing was said - no one was reported to the police.
Much later, when I moved in with my boss, my mother went downtown and met him and said to him, "Take care of my son." Do any of you recall the scene in Doubt, when the mother of the boy, Mrs. Miller told the Sister Aloysius to leave well enough alone? It was like that.
Parents - be better parents. You are responsible for your children.
They called it a May-December romance...
Beware of efforts to lower the age of consent.
It's all connected you know.