ONLY A BIG CITY PROBLEM
Sex Trafficking occurs in every city and community around the U.S. People believe that even though they live in a small or “safe” town that this would not happen in their communities. Not only are brothels found in small towns but children are also at risk of becoming victims in small towns. Because of modern day technology, the internet has exposed youth to potential predators they meet in chat rooms, social media groups etc.
THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN TO MY CHILD
The belief that your child could never wind up in this lifestyle is a dangerous mindset. When we ignore the dangers and are not proactive in educating our kids, we leave our families unprotected. Communicating with kids the dangers of internet predators and teaching them the warning signs of unhealthy relationships will be the best defense you can give to your family.
SHE IS CHOOSING THIS LIFE
There is a misconception that the girls in this lifestyle are choosing to live this life. While there is a very small percentage of women who claim that prostitution should be legalized and that women should be able to make a choice, the reality is that the largest percentage of women do not choose this life. In truth, they are forced by a trafficker, or they are desperate and feel that they have no other means of survival except to have sex for money.
SHE’S OUT THERE BECAUSE SHE’S A DRUG ADDICT
Although we do see drugs and prostitution as going hand in hand, many victims will express that they never used drugs until they were in the life. Some traffickers force their victims to use drugs to keep them working day and night without a break. Others say the traffickers give them the drugs to emotionally cope with the trauma of the life. We also see that young girls will use drugs to self-medicate, which increases the difficulty for them to get out of the life.
IF SHE WANTED TO LEAVE SHE WOULD
One of the hardest concepts to understand about trafficking is why girls would choose not to leave their traffickers. Traffickers use different techniques to control their victims. Victims are threatened that if they were to leave they would be found, beaten and killed. They also threaten to harm their family and friends. We also see many victims who develop trauma bonds with their traffickers. Victims who experience these trauma bonds are more difficult to work with as they do not self-identify as a victim.
THIS IS A VICTIMLESS CRIME
Young girls and women involved in prostitution suffer many psychological and physical consequences from being in “The Life.” Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychological disorders treated with victims of trafficking. Some studies suggest that victims of sex trafficking suffer more severe PTSD than soldiers returning home from war. Young girls and women involved in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than those not involved in prostitution.
THESE GIRLS MAKE A LOT OF MONEY DOING THIS
It is true that girls will have quotas of $500-$1000 a night for their work. This could wind up being over $150,000 a year. However, what people do not realize is that 100% of their earnings are turned over to their trafficker/pimp. These girls work every day for 10-14 hours a day and many times receive very little food and rest. When the girls do not perform they receive verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Money that girls do earn is short lived by either continual incarceration or drug abuse. Our experience has been that the victims will always leave the life the same way they enter, with nothing except the psychological damage that will take years to recover from.
ALL PROSTITUTES WEAR SCANDALOUS CLOTHES
It’s true that many girls who are in this lifestyle dress promiscuously, but many times these girls are wearing everyday clothes, jeans, hoodies and tennis shoes. We need to remember that this lifestyle does not discriminate and will exploit everyday people who come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. When we assume that victims will look a certain way, we miss out on opportunities to help potential victims.
PIMPS ARE NOT REAL
The media culture has given us a new idea of what a pimp is. Mainstream hip-hop has given the term pimp a new look and meaning. A pimp is a man who has lots of money, nice cars and is surrounded by beautiful women. Other typical stereotypes of pimps are men who are dressed in flamboyant clothes and carry a pimp cup or pimp cane. Pimps are real but they do not fit those stereotypes. Pimps can be both men and women. They are young and old and represent all races. Pimps are traffickers, men, and women, who prey on vulnerable individuals. They psychologically or physically manipulate the victim to have sex for money. Some pimps use psychological manipulation to control their victims while others use physical force to keep their victims under submission.