Sometimes it's a story of a grown woman who has chosen prostitution as a path to a better life. More often, it's a story of a woman being forced to sell her body by a pimp.
She was there in a purple negligee. She's a great young lady.
The same day the woman spoke to CNN, her daughter was rescued by police at a seedy hotel near Washington where she was being sold for sex. And she's not alone.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website contains thousands of posters of missing children. Many are girls, classified as "endangered runaways," and the center says more than fifty of them have been pushed into the sex trade. But that's just a snapshot, a tiny indicator of the true scale of the problem.
We're finding an astounding of kids being sold for sex on the internet. Allen said the best source of information on the of underage girls being trafficked online are websites themselves. While online classified giant Craigslist shut down its "adult services" s in early September, other sites like Back.
And while there are clues in the way the are written, only a small fraction of them get referred to law enforcement or organizations like the NCMEC. Craigslist argues it has had a vigorous approach to vetting adult services .
It says that in the 15 months before closing the adult services section altogether, it rejectedbecause they violated the website's rules, including advertising prostitution and "indicative of an underage person. But Allen said his organization, which is the nation's primary reporting agency for missing kids, received just referrals from Craigslist over that same month period.
Now is she 18 or 17? Is she 22 or 12? Craigslist has done more than any other website with an adult services section to try to combat the problem of underage sex trafficking.
It has cooperated with the FBI by providing evidence against pimps and required phone and credit card verification, so left a paper trail for the police to follow. If there's language in the ad that suggests that there may be the use of young people for prostitution, report it," Allen said. What it has not done is put a ificant dent in the problem with child prostitution and child trafficking and that was the goal.
The other problem facing NCMEC and police departments across America is that the internet has changed the business of prostitution. Craigslist's decision to shut down adult services -- which followed pressure from the attorneys general in nearly 20 states -- will do little to alter that fundamental fact.
In Atlanta, Georgia, one of the country's busiest prostitution markets due to its position as a highway and air travel hub, police and prosecutors witnessed the effect of the internet on the business of prostitution firsthand. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN that eight years ago, law enforcement began a serious crackdown on the pimps that control most underage victims, until the pimps vanished.
The s we believe remain the same, but what has happened is that they are now out of sight. A Georgia advocacy group called "A Future Not A Past" commissioned a research firm to survey men who admit to buying sex over the internet, and the were staggering.
Based on interviews with more than men, the research study projected that 7, men a month were buying sex from adolescent girls in Georgia alone. So you don't have to have the more unsafe part of driving in neighborhoods that aren't maybe your best neighborhoods.
Allen, McCullough and others believe the best way to combat the problem of online underage sex trafficking isn't through better screening tools, but through fear. As long as pimps and the men who buy girls for sex feel protected by the anonymity of the web, the trade will continue.
That is a measure of how dangerous and widespread online trafficking of underage sex has become -- that the group leading the campaign to protect children would prefer to see the problem back on the streets. Share this on:.
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