Moral Low Ground

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Thousands of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Jailed in U.S.

April 22, 2011 by Brett Wilkins in Crime & Punishment, Sex with 0 Comments

There are up to 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today.

Such reality does not square well with our nation’s policy makers, who have no qualms about finger-pointing and browbeating other countries about their human trafficking problems while ignoring the same sort of shit going on right outside their windows.

Literally.

In Washington, DC alone there are dozens of little boys and girls sold within a stone’s throw of the halls of power. On K Street, home of special interest lobbyists by day, children are bought and sold for sex by night.

Their average age is 13.

When they’re caught by authorities, they’re often jailed or given probation. These are victims we’re talking about, not criminals. Yet that’s exactly what they’re treated like. The irony of prosecuting children for crimes to which they cannot legally consent seems completely lost on those who view jail as the default solution to this appalling problem.

“We say that this child is a victim, yet we send her to jail. Somewhere along the line there’s something wrong with that and we need to be taking a look at ourselves and a look at the fact that we have made detention… a default setting for what happens to these kids,” Raychel Lloyd of Girls Education and Mentoring Services told RT.

But it’s much easier for authorities to charge child sex trafficking victims with a crime than it is to invest in their futures. RT points out that there are only 80 beds for victims in the entire United States. There are far more prison cells, and with for-profit private prisons proliferating across the nation, law enforcement is encouraged to consider incarceration as a primary option.

But what does this mean for the victims? With arrests on their records, they often find themselves ineligible for housing assistance and shunned when they seek employment.

We’ve got to do better by these kids and stop the victim-blaming. Child sex slaves have to endure an unending hell– first from the ordeal of being forced into prostitution; constantly raped and abused by traffickers and clients alike, then treated like criminals by the law enforcement agencies and courts that exist to help them but which do no such thing.

How dare our government issue scathing annual reports slamming other countries for their human trafficking shortfalls, when just blocks away from the Capitol and the White House, American children are being bought and sold as sex slaves.

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