Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sex Trafficking in America: Melissa Woodward's Story

It's that time of the year again - most of us spend our time worrying about what to get our friends and families and where to buy the nicest turkey. But some people are not so lucky, so it is a good idea to take the time out to do something nice and charitable for those less fortunate. It can often be difficult to understand the pain and humiliation felt by victims of sex trafficking, and this is why we bring you a documentary about the emotional journey of a sex slavery survivor. 

The story of Melissa Woodward is truly terrifying and describes the destructive effect on survivors' psyches. She talks about escaping the world of sex trafficking and how it dehumanised her. This very powerful story is truly eye-opening - take the time out to listen and learn. 

The video was produced by her organisation called For The Sake of One - a valuable source of information and justice. You can visit their website for more information, but let us share their wisdom on the most common misconceptions of sex trafficking.

Myth #1: This does not happen in America.
Reality: An estimated 300,000 children are sold in the United States every year and America is one of the top three destination points for victims.

Myth #2: These children are prostitutes & criminals. 
Reality: First of all these victims are our children and as such they have not the wherewithal to make such a choice. The truth is these children are often won over through false love, warmth, gifts and/or promises of a better life. However, once the trafficker has earned their trust they are often beaten, burned, raped, confined, provided forced drug injections, starved and then forced to perform thousands of sexual acts per year. 

Myth# 3: This only happens to girls. 
Reality: No, in fact boys are very much at risk. The average age for a boy to be sold in the U.S. is 11 years old.

Myth#4: Victims will immediately ask for help and identify themselves. 
Reality: In most cases, the opposite is true. Due to an extreme lack of trust, self-blame, shame, fear of arrest, threats of harm to family and/or other training methods by the traffickers these children may not immediately ask for help.

Myth #5: Sufficient help is available for these children. 
Realty: The stark reality is there is an extreme lack of services available for these children. Each and every report, study or analysis denotes the issue as almost epidemic and each sites a tremendous lack of available help.

Myth #6: Sex or Human Trafficking is a crime that must involve some form of movement across state or national borders. 
Reality: Although transportation may be involved in the crime, and although the word connotes movement, Human Trafficking does not require a person to be transported. Trafficking is a “compelled service” where an individual’s will is overborne through force, fraud, or coercion.

Myth #7 : Human trafficking is the same as human smuggling. 
Reality: Smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves a commercial sex act or labor or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion. Moreover, smuggling is a crime against a country’s borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person.

Myth #8: Trafficking victims always come from situations of poverty. 
Reality: Poverty is certainly highly correlated with trafficking because it often provides an environment of vulnerability. However, it alone is not a single causal factor or universal indicator of a human trafficking victim. Trafficking victims can come from a range of all income levels and many may come from families with a high socioeconomic status.

Myth #9: Sex Trafficking only occurs in illegal underground settings. 
Reality: Sex Trafficking occurs whenever by means of force, fraud, or coercion a person is induced to perform commercial sex acts. The crime occurs in legal business settings such as strip clubs and massage parlors. It occurs on the streets and in neighborhoods as well as in the underground markets.

Myth #10: If the victim provided initial consent about the sex act, then it can not be sex trafficking or considered against their will because they “knew better.”
Reality: Consent is not relevant to the crime. A minor receiving consideration or providing consent is not a plausible defense or explanation to this crime.

1 comment:

JordanRisa said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I'm a fashion blogging kind of girl, but it is SO refreshing to see something real and raw. Fashion can be so superficial and leads many to forget the real world out there.

A couple years ago I was in Cambodia & learned about all the sex trafficking that goes on in that country.

If you have time, please check out & follow my blog: