December 6, 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. It abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. If this is true how is it that slavery is still an underlying problem in the United States? Many children not even old enough to drive, roam the streets of American cities selling their bodies every night. What these children are forced into is sexual slavery, forced prostitution, or commercial exploitation of children. Whatever name is chosen to call it, it is a form of violence against children. These children are the victims and are forced by someone to engage in sexual activity for financial benefit. It is also important to acknowledge that even if the child is some what willing to participate in the sexual activity, according to American and International agreements, children can never agree to prostitution, it is always exploitation.
Forced prostitution is comparable to slavery in many ways. Most of the time when children are thrown into this lifestyle it is very difficult to get out without help. Just like when you become a slave it is very difficult to regain your freedom. Sexual exploitation is not just forced prostitution. It has many aspects, child pornography, sex tourism, extra-familial child molestation, online enticement of sexual acts, unsolicited obscene material sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or images on the Internet.
About 300,000 American children are at risk of human trafficking, for the purpose of Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Any person receiving any benefit from sexual involvement with a person under age 18 is a trafficker of children. 17,000 women and girls annually, are forced to work in the sex industry by organized criminals, known as pimps. 40% of all forced prostitutes are teenagers. The average age to enter street prostitution is between twelve and fourteen. But at times girls can become prostitutes as young as nine years old. About 80-95% of child prostitutes have a history of sexual abuse. Most of these children were victimized by a parent or an early care giver. Many young girls are enticed into this lifestyle by men who promise the girls glamorous careers like modeling. Many girls dragged into the sex industry have family problems and see the men as a way of escape. Poverty and lack of education also play a role in the girls’ decision making. The cities with the highest child sexual exploitation are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington D.C.
Tina Frundt is the Street Outreach Coordinator for the Polaris Project located in Washington DC. Tina Frundt was once a victim forced into the sex industry. She left her home with her dream man when she was fourteen. Her boyfriend introduced her to the sex trade and she was forced to have sex with a multitude of men. When Tina complained, her boyfriend made her feel guilty by saying things like, “How could you betray me...