Sex Trafficking…

Although many individuals recognize that the trafficking of minors and commercial sexual exploitation is occurring in several countries, many are unaware that it takes place every day in America. According to FBI data, every day, American girls as young as 14 are sexually exploited, and according to a 2001 study examining Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in the US, Canada and Mexico, it was estimated that 33% of all unaccompanied minors over the age of 10 fall victim to some kind of sexual exploitation.  20% of these children have been found to be trafficked through well-established prostitution networks and are frequently forced to repay their trafficking debts through child pornography and prostitution.

A nationwide FBI sting in early 2009 freed 52 underage girls from sex trafficking in 29 cities across the country…including Denver.  The FBI identified a well-known circuit used for movement of children and communication between traffickers referred to as “the Western Circuit,” including cities of Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Santa Fe.

Sadly, for those who are rescued and brought out of the trafficking syndicate, a 2007 study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that there were only 39 beds in all US shelters that had the staff capabilities and professional specialization to address young girls who have experienced CSE.